I was born and raised on the Iron Range. Like my sister and many of my friends, I had a "shotgun wedding." Actually, mine was a shotgun engagement. My fiancé gave me a shotgun for an engagement present. I was thrilled. I had hunted with my mom and dad for years, but never had my own gun. My sister received her shotgun from her husband as a wedding present. It's a family thing, what can I say?

My mom hunted with my dad; my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were/are more avid hunters than their husbands. We have many pictures of our children, starting as babies through adult years, with us at the family hunting cabin. Our daughter and son started sitting in the duck blind with us while holding toy guns, then BB guns, until graduating to a 20-gage pump shotgun. My husband, children and I moved to the cities many years ago, but we never miss a hunting season "Up North."

We all were taught how to handle a gun safely and respectfully from day one. We understood that it was a deadly weapon.

I am a lawyer and a lobbyist at the state Capitol. I have come to understand the political strength of the National Rifle Association (NRA). In the rural areas especially, legislators believe their constituents will not support them in the next election if the NRA tells you that your legislator is against your rights as a gun owner.

What I, as a gun owner, have come to understand is that the NRA is a "take no prisoners" and "either you are with us or you are against us" organization.

I believe that we need some regulation on the use of firearms, and that this regulation will not result in a government confiscation of our firearms because Americans will not allow that, and our Constitution will not allow it. I believe that a background check of the purchaser of a gun should be required in all gun sales. When I purchase a new gun from a licensed firearm dealer, I am subject to a background check. It protects all of us. However, when I sell my current shotgun to my neighbor, no background check is required for either party. Why not? Why should I be able to sell my gun to a neighbor - maybe he has a felony record - without a background check? Why should I be able to buy a gun online with no background check?

Legislators will only be empowered to support common sense universal background check legislation if they know that you will stand up for them if they do. So write or call your legislator and ask them to support universal background checks in order to reduce gun violence. Tell your legislator that you will support them in the next election. Universal background checks will not eliminate the horrible mass shootings that we are experiencing in America. It may, however, save a life or two or three.

Kathryn Hahne is a retired partner from Faegre Baker Daniels law firm, and is currently a contract lobbyist at the Minnesota state capitol.

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