Best-selling author Stephen King has shared his thoughts on the on-going gun debate in the U.S. The celebrated author used the Amazon publishing platform to share his personal essay “Guns” in the form of a Kindle Single (Bangor Daily News, Jan. 26).
The author explained why he chose this format in a statement released by the online retailer “I think the issue of an America awash in guns is one every citizen has to think about,” said King. “If this helps provoke constructive debate, I’ve done my job. Once I finished writing ‘Guns’ I wanted it published quickly, and Kindle Singles provided an excellent fit.””
King, like the rest of the U.S. was left wondering what we, as a nation, must do to end gun violence especially after the Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedies. In his essay, King, a gun owner himself says obtaining weapons should be harder. He says that there should be comprehensive background checks, waiting periods and stiff penalties for lying on applications to obtain weapons. The horror writer also is in favor of banning semi-automatic weapons and clips that have more than 10 rounds.
No stranger to voicing his opinion after gun tragedies, King pulled one of his own stories off the shelves in 1996. “Rage” a short story King wrote early in his career under the pen name Richard Bachman that revolved around Charlie Decker, a high school student who takes a classroom filled with students hostage and kills several teachers. After several school shootings King voiced his discomfort in the story. One incident in particular, the school shooting in West Paduca, Ky. caused the author to ask that the story go out of print.
At the time, King said that while his book did not cause the shootings, there was enough in the story to cause concern: “My book did not break [these teenagers], or turn them into killers; they found something in my book that spoke to them because they were already broken,” he said. “Yet I did see ‘Rage’ as a possible accelerant, which is why I pulled it from sale. You don’t leave a can of gasoline where a boy with firebug tendencies can lay hands on it.”
“In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, gun advocates have to ask themselves if their zeal to protect even the outer limits of gun ownership have anything to do with preserving the Second Amendment as a whole, or if it’s just a stubborn desire to hold onto what they have, and to hell with the collateral damage.”
“I have nothing against gun owners, sport shooters, or hunters ... how many have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys? Do the murders have to be in the mall where you shop? In your own neighborhood? In your own family?”