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Gilbert Arenas and Gun Responsibility

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New developments in the Christmas Eve gunplay between Gilbert Arenas and Washington Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton seem to come out every hour.

Suffice to say, if Arenas violated the law by bringing guns into the District of Columbia to keep them at the Verizon Center, he should go directly from the basketball court to a court of law.

If he is found guilty, Arenas -- and any others who have violated the law in this incident -- should be required to serve punishment up to and including appropriate jail time.

If media reports are accurate, on top of violations of the law and NBA policy, Arenas also likely violated at least two of the four fundamental rules of responsible gun ownership, the first of which is to remember that "all guns are always loaded."

Even a casual reading of the news across the nation shows that assuming a gun is unloaded is a recipe for disaster.

The principle here is that guns are not toys. Guns are designed for killing people -- and are used to do so over 30,000 times every year in America. They should never be treated as a joke.

As captured in a now-iconic photograph, the fact that Arenas and his teammates would laugh while Arenas pretended to gun them all down shows that this message hasn't even begun to sink in.

Washington Post columnist Dan Steinberg put it best, saying of this spectacle, "What a monumental, colossal, skull-crushingly bad idea that was." An NBA player who is reckless with firearms is far from the role model that the parents of thousands of his young fans expect him to be.

To that end, NBA Commissioner David Stern was right to suspend Arenas for his behavior, but much more needs to be done.

It is time for America's athletic community to use its clout and prestige to push for positive reforms in our nation's gun laws as well as the way American culture addresses --- or too often, fails to address -- its horrific gun violence problem.

Perhaps as part of his restitution, Gilbert Arenas -- like Michael Vick and other athletes before him -- could become part of that reformative process.

(Note to readers: This entry, along with past entries, has been co-posted on bradycampaign.org/blog and the Huffington Post.)

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