This is the time of the gun, a sickness in our country that is taking the lives of the innocent. It is also a time of reckoning for gun owners.

No, you are not about to hear a lecture about how bad guns are. Instead, a discussion should take place about the kinds of guns that are designed, specifically, to kill people. We’re talking high-capacity, easy-to-purchase killing machines.

I know of these kinds of guns. In the Army, many years ago, I first learned to shoot an automatic weapon, the old M-14, a reliable, great-shooting rifle. Then, upon arrival in Vietnam in late 1967, in all the wisdom of the U.S. government, I was handed an M-16. It was made of plastic and like so many other soldiers, I found the weapon to be far less reliable than the old M-14. I never trusted the M-16. It could jam, was lousy in bad weather and, most surprisingly, looked more like a toy than a gun.

In any event, these guns were distributed to soldiers for but one purpose: To kill enemy soldiers. And kill we did. Unfortunately, the other side also had a fine weapon, the AK-47. They did some killing, as well. Meanwhile, there were a number of soldiers, including a sergeant I knew well, who carried the enemy weapon in the field.

Anyway, this is not an attack on anyone who bought one of the modern versions of the M-16, such as the AR-15, which appears disturbingly similar to the plastic rifle I had come to resent in my Army days. There is no doubt that good, well-meaning folks decided to purchase the semi-automatic version for either their own safety or for target practice.

But in this time of carnage, of mostly young males killing Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, blacks, school children, young people gathered at rock concerts and more, something meaningful must be done.

I was much troubled by some members of the media who expressed surprise that President Trump, again, went back on his word about dealing with the carnage. Really? How many times will these people find themselves believing a pathological liar?

And the NRA? Just another corrupt organization that once stood on a single, understandable platform: Defending the rights of gun owners. Now? It is all about pumping big money to politicians, from both major parties, into their campaigns with the understanding that they will support the gun lobby.

The link between Trump and the NRA is clear. He received $30 million from the NRA during the 2016 campaign. I would bet my beloved 30-30 Marlin that Trump will receive as much, or probably even more, before the 2020 presidential election. That is why he continues to bow down to the NRA.

Sometimes, in fact all too often, the media really goes off the deep end when it comes to guns. Listen to this guest, talking to a CNN interviewer about assault rifles, about a week ago:

“You don’t need an assault rifle to kill Bambi.” That is what she said, and I got to thinking: It is this kind of “Bambi” talk that turns gun owners into thinking that anyone who is talking about responsible gun ownership and then, at the same time, diminishes those of us who hunt, makes us suspicious of any form of gun control.

Yeah, link those of us who love to hunt with the white nationalists, the Nazi-lovers and the just plain angry killers who walk among us.

I am not going to get into what must be done. That will be up to our lawmakers, if they develop the guts to do something to bring about some change. There are a number of steps that can be taken to at least diminish the chances of some hater getting his hands on a killing machine.

No matter what legislators come up with, there will still be killing, but if we can legislate, with wisdom, we can curtail the carnage. I believe we must do all that we can to keep these weapons of human destruction out of the hands of the haters.

I own guns. I use my guns. I enjoy my guns. I taught my sons and am currently teaching a grandson about the proper way to handle and shoot a rifle. He is learning on a 22-caliber rifle. But I will never put a gun designed to kill people into his hands.

I believe that many, if not most, of my fellow hunters and target shooters will find a basic agreement with this point of view. There are others, of course, who will go on the attack, saying that mine is a whining voice, crying out in the wilderness, something akin to a traitor to my hunting brethren.

Those who know me and the passion I have for hunting, the safe handling of firearms and my belief in the right to bear arms know differently.

Contact Dennis Jensen at d.jensen62@yahoo.com

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