No Matter Who Wins In November, Gun Violence Still Needs To End.

Like it or not, the race for the White House is right now in a dead heat.  It’s not so much that Shlump-o is rising in the polls, but that HRC is slowly losing ground.  Even my friends who run the Huffington pollster are showing that over the past five weeks she has lost more than he has gained. So just as the Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) movement needs to suggest an intelligent and reasonable (read: it could pass) gun bill based on the premise that Hillary will still win, they also need to begin thinking about developing a post-election stance and agenda in case he whose real name is unmentionable chalks up the big W on November 8th.

hillary3           I know, I know, she’s still in the lead and the debate season has yet to begin. But the emails and her health issues didn’t help and all of a sudden a lead in Ohio has disappeared; what looked like a good shot in North Carolina and Florida is moving the other way.  Without those three states, particularly the Buckeye State, things don’t look all that good.  I’m not saying that we will be listening to an inaugural speech on January 20, 2017 that will commence with a recitation of the 2nd Amendment; I am saying right now that I wouldn’t necessarily give Mrs. Clinton the short odds.

My GVP friends need to ask themselves what they might do if the unthinkable becomes the thinkable over the next four years.  Because the truth is that even if our President didn’t have enough chips to pass Manchin-Toomey, he still has been a consistent and continuous voice on the question of gun violence, and one should never underestimate the value of the ‘bully pulpit’ when it comes to shaping public opinion about guns or anything else. So GVP may have to craft new messaging about gun violence that will not have the blessing or support of the Chief Executive, and what follows are some (albeit very) preliminary suggestions for what that messaging might contain:

  • Let’s stop venerating the 2nd Amendment. Enough is really enough.  The 2nd Amendment does not ‘guarantee’ our liberties; it doesn’t ‘protect us’ from terrorism or other threats.  It is simply a law which, according to the Supreme Court, allows Americans to keep a handgun in their homes for self-defense.
  • Let’s stop pretending that there is a difference between accidental shootings and intentional use of guns in homicides, suicides or aggravated assaults. You don’t make your home ‘safer’ by locking up your guns.  You make your home safe by not owning a gun.
  • Let’s stop promising everyone that gun violence can be reduced by limiting handgun and assault rifle magazine capacity to 10 rounds. What makes guns lethal is how they were designed, not how many rounds can be fired before it’s time to reload.

I’ve been in the gun business one way or another for more than fifty years and I don’t believe there’s some kind of ‘middle ground’ when it comes to the issue of guns.  Either you own them or you don’t; and if you do own them, at least you should have the honesty and the brains to admit that your guns represent a risk that could be completely eliminated if the guns weren’t there.  And that’s what GVP may be facing next year – a President who actually believes that guns don’t represent any risk at all.

But why wait until next year to take a firm and unyielding stance on the issue of guns? Because the truth is that what is really deplorable (to quote a certain Presidential candidate) is that more than 100,000 Americans are killed or badly injured with guns every year.  This extraordinary level of violence is what makes America truly exceptional, and there’s no reason to wait until the results are in on November 8th before figuring out what needs to be done.

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2 thoughts on “No Matter Who Wins In November, Gun Violence Still Needs To End.

  1. Ok, I’ll bite.

    1. Just to be a stickler for details, I’ll remind that the 2A is not a “law” but an integral part of the Constitution, which means its not particularly easy to amend or remove. But aside from that, I will remind us of Adam Winkler’s solution to this Second Amendment veneration/hate issue: those on both sides of the gun argument abyss should call a truce and accept Heller. Heller narrowly stated an individual right to keep guns for self defense, but left broad latitude for regulation–so far, handgun permit laws and some gun type bans have stood on appeal. If that is not middle ground, we can give up trying to find any.

    2. Accidents, suicides, and criminal assaults really are different. I can control whether I am safely storing the personal arsenal and if I confuse the muzzle for the breech while at the range, its a hole in my head. Just as if I miscalculate a high speed descent on my racing bicycle, its my road rash. I cannot control what someone else is doing with their dangerous stuff, whether a Glock or a Ford Super Duty. I put much greater emphasis on the government’s responsibility to protect us from each other than to protect me from myself. But sure, just as having a car means you can misuse it and kill or be killed, same goes with guns. I suspect more Americans put a greater emphasis on needing a car than needing a gun, so….if you don’t really want or need it, don’t keep it. One less hazard in the home indeed. We have regular “guns to gardens” gun meltdowns in New Mexico where guns are forged into garden tools (taking from Isaiah 2:4) and I’ve written to the local papers supporting these events.

    3. Agree. Aside from mass shootings, where high capacity magazines can keep law enforcement or victims pinned down (which is why the military likes high capacity for suppression fire) but which are a minor part of gun violence, most suicides and homicides (and accidental shootings) are done with garden variety weapons where mag capacity is not relevant. This is one of those “common sense gun control” attempts that wastes a lot of political capital on a limited strategic objective.

    Owning firearms is a responsibility as well as a freedom. Seems we often get one side of that or the other but rarely both.

    As always, thank you, Mike, for your bloggings.

    • Probably not as much traction with garden variety guns. Its those black rifles that are the political whipping boys.

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