Four Sides of the Gun Debate
The problem with the debate over gun control is the same as with any other debate today. The intractable forces of the right and the left makes any debate more of an exercise in posturing rather than a productive discussion.
The voices in the debate can be placed in four categories. Now as with any list it may not fit everyone and may not cover every view. No one person is one thing. Are views are based on our experiences and backgrounds.
The extreme left want all guns gone. They would ban calking guns if they could. This goes to the belief that if you get rid of guns you get rid of gun violence. This is the same idea as probation. At the time alcoholism was on the rampage with connections to domestic violence and other horrible crimes. The idea was that if we removed the booze we would end alcoholism. After years of denying law abiding citizens the right to drink, building a criminal empire, and wasting millions of tax dollars we ending prohibition and set in place regulations that while are not perfect do work. Even now we are seeing the end of the prohibition of marijuana in this country. This after billions of dollars wasted and millions of people jailed.
Then you have the people who see that prohibition at this point has not actual practicality today. They believe that sensible regulation and limited prohibition is the way to go. Where this differs from the middle right is the belief that we should ban certain guns that look or sound dangerous, such guns as the AR-15 or most of the rifles that look like military style weapons. This is the same concept as the banning of pit bulls. Communities are banning bit bulls because of the reputation of the dog as well as the hype. The reality is that most of the hype is built on the media’s need to fill airtime. For every one dangerous pit bull there are hundreds of families living and loving their dogs without any fear or danger. And pit bulls look and sound dangerous like how the AR-15 looks dangerous. The reality is that most dogs can be viscous if mishandled or abused.
The middle Right
These are the people who think that regulations and responsibility go hand in hand. Banning something that looks dangerous while sounding good in reality has no real function except offering someone with a win. The problem is that there is no clear cut line between what is right and what should not be allowed. Do we register all guns or license gun owners? Do we ban certain guns? If so what guns and why? Is the banning of a type of gun limit the rights of Americans to bear arms? Should there be stiffer penalties for gun violence (an extra 20 years in jail for the use of a gun in a crime)?
The far Right
The far right can be split in to (at least) three groups.
The first are the gun manufacturers that are seeing their legal products being held accountable for the actions of the users. This comes down to the bottom line and the future of their industry. We talk about greedy CEO’s, but there are many people who work in the industry making the guns and ammo with families who are a part of our society. It is easier today to point to the top and say evil than approach the reality of the industry.
Second you have the people who think that banning any weapon is the same as banning any type of speech. This includes the people who see them being punished for the actions of others. This can also fit the libertarian view that any regulation is bad.
The third are the people who see this as the next step in the socialization of the country. These are the people who fear the President and anyone on the extreme left. Some think that our rights are from God not man. In this group you will also find the people who are against regulation because the President is for it and their goal is to stop his agenda no matter what it is. He says it’s a nice day and they break out the foul weather gear.
Death of Debate
The far right and the far left are not going to see eye-to-eye or agree to anything. Middle ground does exist, but it requires compromise. When you have two intractable forces (No Guns/No Obama) compromise becomes impossible. Compromise also becomes impossible when one group uses a tragedy to further their cause. It can be made to sound that to be against banning guns after a school shooting makes you as guilty as the shooter. What about the children? This is like pointing at a pit bull owner and saying how can you own that dog after a pit bull in the next state killed a child. As long as we let the extreme forces of our country control the debate we will never have any sensible regulations or open and honest debate. It will always be a battle between the forces of do as we say (right or left).
As with any opinion piece it is open to interpretation. People will read this and think I am pro gun while others will think I am anti gun. The left will think I am naive and the right will think I am anti-American. I think we are a good people capable of great things as long as we come together and work as one. We are a country build from many diverse backgrounds, with over 300 million people. Our society will never be perfect. We will always have crime and violence. We will always have people doing horrible things to each other. History has shown us that banning does not work, but it also shows us that regulations do. It will all come down to how much regulation the public will be willing to accept. I ask you to please take part in the poll below.