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Guns: Can We Find Consensus?
"Thoughts And Prayers" Are Not Enough
By Ray Cunneff
October 2, 2015
We go through the same circular exercise every time there is one of these mass shootings – the initial shock and horror, empty platitudes about "thoughts and prayers", a period of grief followed by outrage, a polarized skirmish over possible remedies, and finally a grudging acceptance of the current political reality that nothing can be done.
The news cycle moves on until the next atrocity.
In our present hyper-partisan political climate, especially on the hot-button issue of gun violence in America, in which anger overwhelms reason, there seems very little effort to find consensus. But are there some things that most of us can agree upon?
No sooner than you ask such a question that you must acknowledge a couple of things. First, that there is no single solution to gun violence and second, that there are some who do not want to even have that conversation, who not only do not want universal background checks or any new restrictions of gun ownership, but want all existing restrictions eliminated. Their only answer to gun violence is more guns. Hopefully, that is a small minority.
If the majority of us really want to address this issue, perhaps we need to approach it differently. We need to take off the table the argument that regulation will lead to confiscation. We need to stipulate that the 2nd Amendment guarantees law-abiding citizens have – for purposes of hunting, target-shooting and self-defense – the right to own and lawfully use firearms. And we need to define, in the clearest possible terms, what that means… and does not mean.
If such at definition can be reached by consensus, we can then consider its corollary, those weapons and munitions that do not meet that definition. Guns and ammunition that cannot be considered legitimate for the purposes of hunting, target-shooting and self-defense, could then be restricted for sale to the general public. That would remove from the market only the deadliest war-weapons and ammunition designed solely for the purpose of quickly and efficiently killing people.
Those assembling arsenals in preparation for civil insurrection, domestic terrorists, those arming themselves for revenge and grievance killings, the weapons manufacturers, lobbyists and their political supporters would howl in protest, but their outrage might actually be blunted by true majority consensus.