The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
With the tragic school shootings in Connecticut and the killings at Portland mall, the gun control debate has once again flooded the national consciousness. A high school kid gets depressed, mumbles a “threat”, and Utah schools are shut down Й A Utah lawmaker suggests that teachers be armed Й Parents show interest in body armor backpacks while worried gun owners go on a buying frenzy at local gun shops.
Gun control is a “fever pitch” issue to which a strong majority has a loud and often uncivil voice. However, I believe a majority of Americans С including a good portion of gun owners С are capable of constructing a reasonable approach while still honoring the Second Amendment.
I’m in this category; most of the people I associate with are also. I expect people are basically divided into five groups:
Two percent aren’t even aware of the gun debate. These people don’t read newspapers or watch TV news. All they care about is which contestant won “The Voice.”
Three percent believe Americans need guns primarily to protect themselves against government agents. These people seldom leave their underground bunkers except for birthdays and gun shows.
Four percent believe guns are inherently bad and should only be used by police officers and the military. These tend to be females who care less about the Constitution than their daily sun salutations and their appointment with their private yoga coach.
Thirty-three percent believe unstable people are the problem, not guns. They believe Charlton Heston is their president, not Barack Obama, and fear any restriction on gun possession as government meddling. Most agree with the gun lobby that the best precaution against a bad man with a gun is a good man with a bigger gun. They might agree that people with mental illness should not be allowed to shoot a weapon С but many would also define the mentally ill as anyone who ever voted for a Democrat.
And then there’s the larger group (58 percent) who understand that the Second Amendment does not give people the right to fire a bazooka or a machine gun. These people are Republicans and Democrats, avid hunters and those who have never shot anything but a squirt gun.
I’m part of this group. We understand the stance of the Founding Fathers but feel these esteemed statesmen didn’t foresee the development of weapons that shoot 100 rounds a minute. We don’t want a blanket ban on guns or even an unreasonable bureaucracy tied to weapon purchases. We accept that the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding decent people, and we don’t object to these folks carrying concealed weapons.
But we do appreciate a respectful discussion of the need for assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. We’re not 100 percent sure we agree with the U.S. Conference of Mayors that all assault weapons be banned, but we know that these weapons are designed to kill humans, not deer, elk, or geese.
We are willing work with the National Rifle Association and gun enthusiasts, but they must also show an eagerness to compromise.
We are the majority. We know that evil will always exist and gun violence can never be eliminated, but we also know the status quo is an invitation to more senseless killings. It’s a time for contemplation, not slogans.