Clear and Present Danger

11/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

What happened at the gun show in Massachusetts is precisely why guns and kids should be kept apart. Guns kill - that is their purpose. The tragic death of an 8-year-old boy who, while under supervision by a certified instructor at a gun show accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi submachine gun, is horrific; a catastrophe of gargantuan proportions for the child and his family, and I would say, for all parents everywhere. Words cannot even begin to describe the sorrow that must certainly consume the family and friends of this little boy. In a heartbeat - an out-of-control instant, a child's life is gone.

I mouthed a silent prayer for the victim and his parents when I read about the tragedy, and wondered again at the stubbornness of gun lovers and promoters. Why is an 8-year old child allowed into a gun show in the first place? Why is a little boy encouraged and allowed to test-shoot an Uzi sub-machine gun, or any gun for that matter? Shouldn't there be an age requirement to get into a place that is full of loaded guns? Guns are serious business - they represent a clear and present danger. And clearly, even professionals cannot guarantee safety around them when those weapons are loaded.

Though I don't presume to question the right of qualified adults to own a gun, to engage in hunting sports, and to guard life and limb, I wonder what has lead our society to think that weapons of mass destruction - Uzi submachine guns and the like, should be so easily bought and sold and put on display to be fondled and tested by untrained individuals - especially children?

The proliferation of guns, the crime that is committed against society with guns, and the potential for accidental injury and death because of guns, is at the heart of the gun debate, and of course the issue heats up after a tragedy occurs. I hope this time we make a move - not only to enforce laws that are already on the books, but also, as a society, to be proactive in taking appropriate steps to ensure safety; to treat guns with the gravity and seriousness they require. And, to honor this child's memory, to keep them out of the hands of kids.