Can We Talk About Guns?

Posted: December 26, 2012 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized

By Matt Horan

The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre still continues to dance in my head every day, as it surely does for people across the nation, particularly those of us who have elementary aged kids.

My thoughts have moved from shock and sadness to a new phase–wondering how we can prevent this from happening again in the future.

I’ve heard two predominant viewpoints angrily bandied about over the last week or so.  The first solution to garner attention was to tighten control over who can own a gun as well as the types of guns that can be owned by private citizens.  If the type of assault rifle that was used to shoot the children at Sandy Hook was illegal, would this tragedy have been averted?  Would the shooter have had to use a less efficient weapon and thus not been able to kill as many as he did?

The second viewpoint that I’ve heard emerge is counter to the first: we should increase access to guns so that the “good guys” can defend themselves as efficiently as the “bad guys” might attack them, and increased access would allow more people to learn gun safety. Proponents have advocated further that armed guards be stationed at schools all day to repel such an incident in the future.

Advocates of increased availability of guns point out that the reason that shooters target schools is because they are “gun free zones,” and they know that the students and teachers will be defenseless.  They further argue that the 2nd Ammendment to the Constitution protects the right of citizens to bear arms as a check against the government becoming tyranical and overstepping their authority.

Advocates of tighter control over gun ownership argue that gunfights between our citizens cannot be our plan for preventing violence.  As to the 2nd  Amendment, they argue that it is outdated, written at a time when the nation was fresh off of British confiscation of guns to keep the colonies in line, and that the system of checks and balances currently in place replaced any need for accountability offered by private citizens with guns ready to overthrow the government if it gets out of line.

It is true that you can’t shoot anyone without a gun.  It’s also true that peace for thousands of years has been kept because nations feared the retaliation their opponents we’re capable of, i.e. Iran vs. Israel, or the United States vs. the Soviet Union.

Unfortunately, as with most national conversations, both sides have been vilified by each other with angry accusations and thoughtless caricatures of what their position really is.

Not so here.  If you’d like to thoughtfully discuss this issue in a constructive manner, you’re welcome to contribute.  If you want to rant about how awful one of the two sides is there are plenty of other blogs or call in shows that will be glad to hear you yell and put you on the air.  This is not the place for that.

May we think out loud together on safety for our people and our children.  The world needs more people courageous enough to talk with others, rather than talking or yelling at them. Thanks for helping discern together a good path ahead.


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