Guest Editorial: Where is the sane, sensible, calm debate about guns?

Guest Editorial: Where is the sane, sensible, calm debate about guns?
July 08
09:30 2016

Emotions and politics seem to be why we cannot, as a nation, have sane, sensible, rational, calm debate about guns.

Instead, we somehow lump mass killings, gang violence, domestic violence, target shooting, self-defense, home-defense, fear of a tyrannical government, the Second Amendment, interpretations of the Second Amendment, the sanctity of the Second Amendment as it was written, et al into one giant stew pot, season it with unfettered emotional hot sauce and smother it in a political cream sauce that masks the issues.

Second Amendment purists cling to the fact the words say nothing about any types of restrictions on the right to bear arms. While they do not– at least not out loud  argue about the age restrictions placed on handgun owners, they refuse to consider any other types of restrictions that might well put a dent in the number of people killed in mass shootings in America. And they point to the fact – and, indeed, it is fact _ that people who want to kill large numbers of other people have many other means to do so aside from the high-capacity rounds weapons.

They reason that if we restrict the types of guns Americans can have because those guns are some-times (often, is more accurate) used to slaughter dozens of human beings, and allow them only to be in the hands of those serving in the military, then we must also restrict commercial jet liners to military use. After all, it was large commercial jets that were commandeered by terrorists and flown into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, resulting in thousands of deaths.

Yes, yes. Jets can be used to carry out terrorist acts and mass killings. But since 9/11, our country has implemented many safeguards and restrictions that significantly lessen the chances of another such incident.

One can also argue that automobiles and 18-wheelers can be used as weapons in mass killings. Indeed, especially if outfitted with car bombs or the right mix of ingredients within a trailer. Really, the list of everyday objects that can be used in carrying out killings is long. But does that – should that – preclude frank discussion about America’s guns?

A reader pointed out recently that discussion seems to center on “military-style weapons” and there are misunderstandings about what constitutes such a weapon. Fair enough. He also points out that after-market devices are available that can, for example, convert an 8- or 9-shot capacity semi-automatic magazine into a twin-drum 100-round magazine. Perhaps a killer would buy a $500 handgun and outfit it with a $400 device that increases its capacity to kill. Perhaps rational discussion about America’s gun laws and regulations should include whether such after-market devices should even be legal.

Ah, but there we go again, you say. Fueling the fire of those who want to burn the Second Amendment into thin air. And there we are, once again, standing on either side of a polarizing line.

Yes, we believe it is possible to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights while protecting many hundreds of Americans’ lives who will yet become victims in mass shootings because we cannot or will not come to the table and discuss an issue, much less attempt to reach a logical compromise.

And why is that? Emotions. And politics. Far better, isn’t it, that a Capitol Hill politician protect his chances of re-election than the lives of his fellow countrymen.

The Index-Journal of Greenwood, S.C.

About Author

Wali Pitt

Wali Pitt

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