This country is filled with insanely complicated issues: taxes, healthcare, defense, trade, climate change, etc. All of them deserve lots and lots of discussion and data because there is no “right” answer on how best to move forward.
A couple issues, however, don’t deserve such treatment. To me, that list consists of gay rights and creationism’s place in our education system. These are not complicated debates. There is nothing to “hear out” or “considerations to make”. Anyone who believes gays don’t deserve the same rights as other humans or believes that a supernatural being created the world 6,000 years ago is just wrong. Like, it really is that simple. They are wrong.
The gun control debate is not as open-and-shut as gay rights and creationism — but it is close. Plenty of folks, including myself, enjoy an afternoon on the shooting range. Others love and, in some cases, depend on hunting. Guns do save lives each year. Even though, in 2009, there were 31 murders that used a gun daily — or, “a Sandy Hook” each day — people do protect their homes and families with guns. Though how often this occurs or actually incited increased violence is not known. (There are a handful of studies on the subject that draw different conclusions.)
But otherwise, we allow people to buy a machine whose only purpose is to kill. Guns don’t do other things. They are made to kill. Bombs are a type of “arms”; wouldn’t it be insane if someone defended their legality?
Gun control advocates should take a page out of the playbook of gun control opponents: simple dogma.
Reset the range of discussion for Biden’s commission. Adam Lanza used two handguns to kill those children and the most promising discussion out of Washington, so far, is a vague reference to banning military grade assault rifles and large bullet holders.
Counter “Don’t take my guns” with “Take all the guns.”
Start with that. All of them. The solution will end up somewhere in the middle.* But start with the hardline. And reset that middle of the political negotiations. Be a “gun control extremist”. Entertaining the non sequiturs and nonsense, or spinning wheels trying to vet every bit of nuance to the debate, as we’ve learned, means nothing impactful will ever happen.
It’s not as if the talking points have any mileage or relevancy.
“Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” By this logic, arsenic and the atomic bomb should be legal too.
“Why aren’t we talking about banning cars, knives and baseball bats?” Cars, knives and baseball bats have other purposes than killing. Guns don’t.
“We don’t know that tighter gun laws will reduce violence!” They have in Great Britain, Japan, Australia, Finland, Spain, Germany and Canada. Let’s take a chance.
“Drugs are illegal and people still do drugs!” By that logic we should not have laws against murder.
“Just arm the teachers!” This only treats a symptom of the–OhMyGodICantFinishMySentenceYouAreFuckingInsane
“We need better mental health programs and regulation of violent video games!” Agreed. But that’s called changing the subject.
“We need to be able to defend ourselves from the government!” The Pentagon spent 664.84 billion dollars in 2011. But seriously, tell me about your assault rifles.
“Firearm deaths are WAY far down the list of causes of death in America!” So is breast cancer. Should we stop searching for a cure?
“But…it’s in the Constitution!” So was slavery.
“Legislation won’t solve the root of the problem!” When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill, it’s not as if suddenly there were no racists. But 50 years later we have a black president. Laws don’t change societies, they shape them. Maybe in another 50, after effective gun legislation, we go 12 months without a school shooting.
(*Say, one single shot rifle allowed per American after a 30 day wait period and background check. Hunters and home defenders keep on keepin’ on.)