After a gunman opened fire last week on a crowd of concert goers in Las Vegas, leaving 59 dead and more than 500 injured, the discussion about guns, gun laws and mental health made it’s grim but predictable return.


Investigators determined that Stephen Paddock fired his shots from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel, meaning each bullet traveled more than 500 yards before reaching its victim. While the question of what drove Paddock to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history remains unanswered, we know the answer to how one man could cause so much death and destruction from such a distance: bumper stocks.


To help illustrate an article we wrote about bumper stocks earlier this week, I grabbed my camera and headed over to Red River Firearms in Sherman where owner Jason Webb was waiting to show me how the devices worked.


I’ve shot different guns on different occasions, but I didn’t really enjoy the experience and I don’t feel the need to own a gun personally. I realize my position differs from that of many Americans, so when I walked into a gun store days after a mass shooting, I was sure someone would pick up on that and judge me for it.


One of the first questions Webb asked me was whether I liked to shoot. I was straight with him and told him I didn’t, figuring it would create a rift between us. But it didn’t. Webb was willing to teach me what I didn’t know and he didn’t disparage me. In fact, we found a lot more common ground than I expected.


Guns can be a polarizing part of American life. In the wake of tragedies like Las Vegas, Charleston, Orlando, Aurora, San Bernardino and Sandy Hook, Americans tend to fall into two camps and dig our heels in. Where we go from here and how we can stop mass shootings is not an easy conversation, but a necessary one.


If we want to save lives, we have to sit at the same table, we have to be willing to listen to each other and we have to be open to the idea of something that could make things better, whatever that may be.



Happy birthday Saturday to LaNisha Collins, Arlene O’Malley and Josephine Ford, all of Denison; Garland Parker of Sherman; and William L. Harris of Laguna Niguel, California.


Happy anniversary Saturday to Kevin and Kendra Harwell of Denison, 1 year.