A Sane Word About Guns
My ideal world is one where people do not kill each other, regardless of method. Unfortunately, I do not live in that ideal world. Nor is it likely in any foreseeable future. So I go with with is practical and, most important, reasonably effective. Lee at HorsesAss has a good piece about the challenges of building effective policies to reduce gun violence.
Our problem is now a deeply rooted cultural one. It’s not that I don’t think it can ever change, I just don’t think there’s a set of realistic laws that can bring about that change by itself. It has to be a cultural shift over time. It will happen if the next generation of Americans grows up with a healthy measure of disgust over our obsessive gun culture and firearm extremism.
The best parallel I can point to is with cigarettes. Within a generation, we’ve greatly stigmatized being a smoker, while also passing a number of laws that didn’t outlaw smoking, but made it more inconvenient. It’s likely the laws did less than the information campaign to educate people about its unhealthiness, but both happened in parallel. And cigarette smoking was greatly reduced over my lifetime. (links in original)One of the commenters suggests a "market-based approach" by requiring liability insurance for owners of certain high capacity weapons. I would require enhanced purchase requirements and hold gun manufacturers and dealers liable for the consequences of their sales if requirments are not met. The gun nuts are right about one thing: bans on weapons will be circumvented; we need only look at the failed drug wars of the past 40 years to know that. Like Lee, I don't have the answers. Like Lee, I would look for practical solutions.
The appeal and myth of guns in modern America will confound any attempts to reduce gun violence. It's an easy appeal for me to understand and fear. I still remember the power and authority that carrying an automatic weapon in combat gave me. Wielding that kind of power is disturbingly satisfying. That's why I fear it.
That is why I want to see fewer opportunities for others to embrace that power.