Common Sense Gun Control in America

On Sunday night in Las Vegas, a man opened fire on a concert crowd, killing 59 and injuring more than 500. It’s hard to be shocked by mass shootings in America anymore, but I’m taken aback by the sheer efficiency of this brutal attack.

I’m also amazed by the conversation after the fact. There is incredible resistance to any kind of discussion about stricter gun control. That baffles me.

I wish we could break through this partisan divide and come together to discuss real, common sense solutions that could address gun violence.

Part of the frustration is that it seems like we have the same conversation every time. We hear the same arguments, the same responses, every time. My Twitter feed is full of the same ridiculous quotes, followed by the same refutations of those claims.

Wouldn’t it be easier if we could put all the arguments and responses in one place and be done with it? Let’s give it a try:

Now is not the time to debate politics.

So when is the time? Mass shootings happen all the time in America. Gun violence is a daily occurrence. If not now, when?

By the way, nobody says this about any other issue. It’s simply a way to duck the issue of gun control.

Don’t politicize a tragedy.

Don’t we politicize every tragedy? How many laws are named after victims? What was our response to 9/11 if not politicizing a tragedy? And isn’t Iraq the ultimate example of politicizing a tragedy—literally using a tragedy to push an unrelated policy claim.

Terrible things happen, but we can’t control them.

Yes, bad things happen, but we can work to prevent them. My kids could choke on anything, but I take reasonable efforts to make sure their room isn’t full of tiny, choke-able items.

This was the act of an evil law breaker. You can’t stop evil by passing new laws.

Then why do we have laws? If the idea that people will break laws means those laws are pointless, then you’re questioning our entire system of government.

By the way, why do Republicans argue against more laws for gun control, but for more laws against abortion? You can’t have it both ways.

There will always be horrible new ways to kill people. We can’t anticipate each one with new laws.

Of course not. But that doesn’t mean we give up. We learn, we improve, we do what we can to stop what we can. It’s hard to think of a tragedy in our history that didn’t result in some sort of change to prevent that kind of tragedy.

Nobody stood around after 9/11 and said there’s nothing we can do.

X law would not have stopped X tragedy.

There’s no (forgive the pun) silver bullet to this issue. But there is a patchwork of solutions and ideas that can start to limit death and minimize risk. Nothing will ever be 100%, but we can make improvements and head off some of the possibilities.

Even if we have stricter gun control laws, gun violence will still happen. The hope is that we can minimize it.

Most gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides, and a committed person will always find a way to kill themselves.

So let’s make it harder for them. Suicide is often done in the heat of the moment, and putting up barriers will surely lower the number of suicides.

Strict gun control laws will curtail the freedoms of law-abiding citizens.

With freedom comes responsibility. If you want to have guns, we need to take the proper steps to keep people safe.

Any attempt at stricter gun control is a slippery slope to banning all guns and killing the Second Amendment.

Banning all guns in America is practically impossible. The logistics, never mind the politics, would be mind boggling. We can have guns and be safer.

Look, I’ve got red-state relatives who love their guns. I get it. But we can find a middle ground that ensures Second Amendment rights while imposing some limitations to keep people safe.

Let’s Do Something

I don’t know if that helps. Sometimes it seems like we need to get the baseline arguments and responses out there and move on. (By the way, I wish someone would do this for all kinds of issues. If someone smarter and more non-partisan could do it, I think it would help cut through some of the partisan bickering.)

I’d especially like to see the NRA and Republicans take the lead on this issue. If you’re worried about Democrats taking away the Second Amendment, how about you address this issue in a way you can stomach? How powerful would it be for the NRA and gun enthusiasts to stand up and lead the way, making America safer while also protecting gun rights?

That’s probably not going to happen. So I guess the rest of us will have to stand up and make America safer while also protecting gun rights.

I think we can do that. Something like 30,000 people die every year from guns. Isn’t it worth doing something to reduce that number? We’ll never do it completely or perfectly, but isn’t something better than nothing?

Whether it’s background checks, banning assault rifles, finding a way to screen the mentally ill, whatever. There are solutions.

If you think we should do something to reduce gun violence, call your representatives. No matter their political stripe, whether you think they will listen or not, call them. Make them aware that Americans will not stand by, again, as gun violence terrorizes our nation.

And when you get a response from your representative, hold them to it. When they say they’re committed to reducing gun violence, ask them how. Demand action. It’s too easy for our politicians to be all talk.

Tragedies will happen, but some tragedies we can prevent.


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