In a recent letter on the illogic of gun control (“On family dynamics, school, drugs & guns,” Aug. 15), Mr. Ray Colburn neatly summarized a position held by myself and many Americans: “[T]aking away the instrument of the killing will stem the violence and make society a safer place.”
On this point the electorate apparently has consensus. A 2019 Reuters poll found that 85 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans want restrictions on firearms that range from banning assault weapons and online ammo sales to banning large-capacity magazines.
Colburn sees faulty logic in the common understanding that we’d all be safer with tighter restrictions on battle weapons designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible; weapons that have no legitimate civilian use. He implicates Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, the breakdown of the family, Ritalin prescribed for over-active school kids, the NEA and media as “prime culprits in mass killings,” concluding that we’re doomed to endure mass murders in our schools, shopping malls and churches.
I wish to say to anyone who has given up on gun control: “take heart.” With sufficient political persistence, led in some cases by school children, we can re-legislate the assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004, making it permanent this time. We can amend the Constitution if necessary. Surely the Founding Fathers did not intend us to become a nation of gun victims nor a frightened people in arsenal homes and schools.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a vulnerable motto, not irrefutable logic. Remind the speaker that it’s difficult and undesirable to control people in a free society. Human behavior is complex, impulsive and occasionally irrational in the best of us. Wiser to create a society where it’s difficult to kill one another, rather than making it as easy as possible. Let’s stop facilitating potential mass murderers by taking away their favorite weapons.
Not convinced? Here’s a simple thought experiment. Imagine you are in Walmart with your grandchild on a busy Saturday and you hear what sounds like gunfire in the next aisle. As you run frantically for an exit or cower in a corner trying to shield your beloved child, wouldn’t you like to know it is less likely the shooter is armed with an AR-15?
We can take this up with our candidates during this election season, holding their feet to our moral fire.
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