Looking for gun violence solutions

First, I want to express my condolences to all the victims and families of senseless and absolutely deplorable gun violence. Everyone’s conscience should be in shock, regardless of political affiliation.

Next I would like to say that I am not a member of the NRA. I am, however, a conservative and lean right. I am also a concerned citizen who has little confidence in our elected officials and I am outraged by the ignorance that is being fed to we the people about gun violence!

Like many I was trained and have fired a military assault rifle many times. I’ve hunted using both a rifle and shotgun. I respect those who respect the power of these weapons and the success of their skillful use.

The typical gun debate pits gun rights against gun control. That frame is so ingrained that we hardly note it when the press describes those who want to reduce violence via firearms as gun control activists and those who oppose them as gun rights advocates. It’s an either/or: rights or control issue.

There is a better way to talk about guns and, perhaps more importantly, to address the problem of gun violence. And that’s to focus on gun responsibility.

Gun responsibility respects the Second Amendment right to bear arms. It also demands that the right be exercised with the level of responsibility that a functioning society applies to any public health or safety issue.

That means do not dismiss gun owners as a bunch of zealots, or dismiss gun control as simply the overcompensating fear of insecure men.

America has a problem to solve, which is thousands of gun deaths a year. A good way to honor those victims is to thank gun owners who behave like adults, to support policies that encourage greater gun responsibility. Remember, this is also how we fulfill our Second Amendment duties.

Unfortunately, the gun control advocates continue to argue that if federal and state gun control laws were just a little stricter, these tragedies would have been avoided. This couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Gun responsibility means accepting, indeed championing reasonable rules and standards for the ownership and use of firearms. Criminal background checks prior to gun purchases, to take one obvious example, should be completely noncontroversial. That’s the bare minimum responsibility requires.

Criminal background checks can’t prevent every gun death, of course. Similarly, speed limits and seat belt laws can’t prevent every highway death. That is no argument for the repeal of either. It’s just a reminder that our job as citizens is to make rules that reduce the chances of preventable harm.

Robert Ware

French Creek

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