SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - As a veteran of the United States Army, I distinctly remember the words of our Drill Instructor at the rifle range as we were learning about our assigned weapons, which at the time, was an M-16 rifle, a military version of the AR-15.
The sergeant, speaking plainly and bluntly, told us that this weapon was designed with a singular purpose: to kill people.
As a soldier sworn to defend our nation, my access to that weapon was much more limited than the average non-military person has today, as evidenced by last week's horrific shooting in a Florida High School.
According to police, a legally purchased AR-15 by a 19-year-old was used with a singular purpose: kill as many high school students as possible in as short of period time as possible.
In typical fashion, those who have an ability to stop these types of tragedies didn't call for reasonable discussion or debate, they didn't demand immediate action, no instead they once again sent empty thoughts and prayers.
How many of our children must die before we as a country do something about our uniquely American penchant to ignore the obvious when it comes to these mass murder shootings.
I see and hear all the arguments. Cars kill more people than guns, but we don't ban the manufacturing of cars. No, but we do limit the speed at which we can legally drive them. We mandate that airbags be installed. We do everything possible to make them as safe as possible.
In the 50's, when one in every one-millionth child was dying in refrigerators they couldn't get out of, we passed the refrigerator safety act to change how refrigerator doors were closed.
In 1982 after seven people died from poisoned pain reliever, we mandated tamper-resistant packaging.
We've banned lawn darts and require glow in the dark safety releases in trunks.
Yet in the past six years starting with Sandy Hook, 138 of children have been killed in school shootings and our leadership continues to ignore the issue.
Consider this: The time for thoughts and prayers has passed and so has the time of partisan bickering, which continues to jeopardize our children's future.
It is time to come up with a sensible policy change that will keep us safe without violating our rights in a free society.
History is watching and so are our children.