Holding Forth

Published on January 11th, 2017 | by Richard Black

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Part of the Problem with Gun Control

I’m tired. I’m tired of people getting shot up in public places. I’m tired of mass shootings. I’m revolted that more innocent lives will be taken while both sides bicker and posture. I’m disgusted that these tragedies are being used as a platform to serve special interests and as an opportunity to garner political capital.

I’m tired of hearing my friends from the right yammer on that the solution to gun violence in this country is to enforce existing laws and encourage more people to carry firearms. I’m tired of my friends from the left claiming that the solution to ending gun violence is to ban all firearms.

Neither stance is, in my opinion, rational and that’s understandable. Gun control isn’t a rational issue.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should note that I generally agree with “The Left” when it comes to gun control. In addition to enforcing the existing gun laws I believe that we need to draft legislation to ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of those who are incapable of using them appropriately. I believe that if someone is caught with an unlicensed firearm then it should be assumed that their intent to use the weapon is tantamount to a felony. For those found with improperly secured firearms I believe that those weapons should simply be forfeit.

Then again I may be part of the problem.

Banning firearms in their entirety is unfeasible and a stance with which I don’t agree. It’s not pragmatic. It penalizes the many responsible gun owners who secure and train with and clean their weapons on a regular basis. Gun ownership is also, whether right or wrong, deeply embedded within a large segment of our national consciousness. The fact is that there will always be guns in the United States. The question is whether they will be legal and monitored or purchased illegally and remain minimally regulated. That, in a nutshell, is the issue we face.

Instead of trying to understand the other side’s perspective in the past I became adversarial. In arguments I noted that the U.S. has one of, if the highest, rates of mass shootings in the “developed” world. I noted that we own more firearms per capita than any first world country yet still have one of the highest rates of gun related violence. I quoted and responded and was quoted and responded to  down the rabbit hole we went.

Another approach is clearly necessary.

I feel comfortable writing that most people on either side of the issue believe that the loss of life that’s occurred in Fort Lauderdale, Newtown, Orlando and many other cities is a tragedy. I like to believe that everyone, regardless of political affiliation, hopes to halt these atrocities. I have difficulty believing that the answer to the issue is less regulation.

Then again maybe my reticence as a “liberal” to even consider less regulation is part of the problem.

I like to think that I understand where “The Right” is coming from. I own firearms myself. I secure them, clean them and practice with them as often as I’m able. I consider myself to be a responsible gun owner and take no issue with others who do the same. To a certain extent I even understand the fear my friends on “The Right” have regarding registration and limits on their Constitutional rights. Laws, despite the best of intentions, can and have been usurped throughout history.

The issue is complex. There’s political hay to be made from both sides and single agenda special interest groups to which law makers and representative must cater are self serving and merely confuse the issue. Gun control is an emotional issue and perhaps that’s the problem. In order to even begin to consider a solution we all need to be willing to come to the table with hard, verifiable and honest facts instead of opinions, fear mongering and statistics massaged for political gain.

Until then we can debate and posture all we want. In the meantime more men and women and children and husbands and wives and daughters and sons will continue to be the victims of another mass shooting, and another, and another.

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