The Gun Debate Stumbling Block
What We Agree On
We agree on much more here than either political party would like to admit, and it is mostly their Political posturing that is making this debate an impossibility in the American 21st Century zeitgeist. No rational person sees, the events in Aurora, Sandy Hook, or the splattering of other weekly shooting sprees, dotted throughout each news cycle and says, "well nothing to fix here."
At least I don't think they do, I'd like to think the firearm industry is doing just fine and doesn't need media scare tactic to foster it's continued boom, (besides having an African-American president in the white house has seemed to promulgate preparation for the end of days nicely in the more extreme elements of U.S. denizens)
I would also like to think that they support firearm registry, more extensive back ground checks, and the closing of gun show and internet sales loopholes. We all seem to agree that, of course, responsible firearm owners are not thee problem and that we need to keep guns out of the hand of the mercurially violent and mentally unstable. If we seriously have that as a goal then legislation involving everything listed above is needed. These are the best tools we have to put into place right away and will almost certainly put a dent in firearm deaths and injuries.
I would really like to think that at least a majority of active firearm users, are in support of banning certain assault style rifles and also clips of extended capacity. But if you fall into a camp where, you think responsible gun owners should be able to own any type of gun and magazine you like, you still must realize that are some limits on this already in place and there is still a conversation worth having about where that line should be, where it is well calibrated or if it should be moved one way or the other. While I doubt seriously that I am going to be persuaded of private citizens' inalienable right to military assault rifles, the nature of democracy requires a conversation with give, take, and eventual compromise.
When you take a quick purview of the things which we allow government to at least partially regulate, thereby limiting our freedom, in the aim of mitigating harm done by inherently risky yet necessary activities, you will see that this balance between freedom and liberty is a pervasive element inextricably bound to the social contract.
Driving, Condition of vehicle, and license eligibility are controlled. Alcohol and cigarette consumption are heavily taxed and abuse is treated through state funded programs. Fireworks, Gambling, and Prostitution are illegal in most states. To perform any public job from hairstylist to phlebotomist requires training and a license. Even freedom of speech, the most sacrosanct of freedoms, is limited in some small ways.
What We Appear To Disagree ON
We seem to favor a view of the constitution that is sensitive to our leanings. If we want to protect gun rights then we view the 2nd amendment as part of an indivisible body of intrinsic rights that stand between us and an authoritarian state. If you are pro-gun control then the 2nd amendment is an antiquated piece of legislation involving machines that the founders probably couldn't have predicted.
It makes sense that as the children of immigrants who spent much of the first two hundred years of this nation's life settling it's frontiers that our love of guns mimics some sense of the romanticized rugged individualism boosted of by Americans.
Inevitably both of our sides become characterized until the point of absurdity, represented by it's fringe elements, by the media, so that they can fill 24 hours of news and allow a false sense of intractability to envelop the whole notion of a discussion. Media sensationalism is blocking this issue from getting anywhere near a room in which it may be discussed by the level-headed. For this we should all feel enraged.
What I don't understand was the casuistic response of Wayne La pier in the wake of Sandy Hook. I don't understand otherwise intelligent people being so fever stricken by rhetoric that, "we need to talk about gun access," becomes morph into , "we are coming for your guns." And I don't understand our inability to compromise in this one case in order to accord ourselves some balance of liberty and safety. If we want to begin living in a culture where are children are safe in school and after school, we may have to willing to give of ourselves. Maybe we will have to take an extra safety course in order to own certain types of military designed rifles, maybe something more than a perfunctory look at a person's past is in order before vending them something as dangerous and worthy of respect as a firearm.
Now these measures will not solve the problem overnight. No one is claiming it will; laws against stealing do not stop all incidents of theft, but we still have the laws and try to enforce them. I can already hear neocon pundits and NRA lackeys descrying the impotence of new firearms legislation following the next inevitable disaster. No law will act as a panacea but some law, even a paltry one, must mark the beginning of a rational conversation.