Gun Control – Can There Be A Middle Ground?

This isn’t going to be a rant about gun control nor is it going to be a rant about 2nd amendment rights.  It’s a fruitless argument since neither side is willing to compromise to come up with an equitable solution.

I am neither a proponent or opponent about one’s right to own guns.  But to be fair, I must point out that I do not own a gun and have no desire to.  I have lived a pretty good life without them and have never been in a situation that would be considered life threatening.

I have hunted…in fact there are many good memories going deer hunting with my father as well as pheasant hunting with my dog Snoopy.  Still, toward the end of my hunting phase, I began to feel that I had too much of an advantage over the animals that I hunted and decided that it just wasn’t fun anymore.  And that was my choice

Choice.  That word when it comes  to guns is a huge  obstruction when it comes to the issue of guns.

What brings me to voice an opinion about this was the mass shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida last month as well as the nation-wide walk out that elementary and high school students participated in.  As a sign of respect to the victims of the shootings, many of the protests lasted 17 minutes in deference to the 17 children that were killed.

What do the children want?  They want to be safe in their schools.  They want to know that there is little chance they could be killed.

Since 2013, there have been over 300 school shootings, about an average of one per week.  And while proponents of the 2nd Amendment and the NRA will try to point to mental health issues are the root cause of these shootings, the proponents of gun control will point to the availability of assault rifles to be the root cause.

As for arming teachers, my biggest fear in that came to fruition when a teacher discharged a weapon in a California classroom.  No one was killed but three students sustained minor injuries.  However, no call to a student nurse or paramedics took place and the teacher continued with his class.

The teacher was instructing the students about gun-safety and was about to show students how to disarm someone.  While I applaud the class, there are several questions that come to mind:  If a real gun was to be used, why would live ammunition be allowed?  In fact, why would the gun need to be loaded at all if this was a demonstration?

What I don’t understand is the attitude of gun owners about any of this.  They say it is within their right to own any type of gun they wish.  I don’t begrudge their desire to own guns.  But I think the interpretation being used is a little far-fetched.

The exact wording of the 2nd Amendment is:  A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was adopted, having been ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Lets look at the phrase “well regulated militia” for a moment.  In the context of the 2nd Amendment, proponents of gun ownership use this loophole to own guns for the security of a free state.  It does not talk about security of one’s home nor does it talk about self-defense.  And in 1791, when the Bill of Rights were ratified, the founding fathers were taking into consideration the weapons current for that time.

Can there be middle ground when it comes to gun control?  I think the chasm between the two camps is too far of a gap.  The NRA, as the student demonstrations were taking place, posted on Twitter of a black rifle emblazoned with the American flag with the caption of “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”  A pretty heartless indication of how the NRA feels about students getting killed.

The NRA, many of the Republican Party and owners of guns will try to tell you that many of the school shootings are a mental health issue.  Anti-gun groups and many Democrats will say that it is the availability of assault-type guns that are the culprit.

Why can’t both sides be right?  I think first and foremost, both sides can at least agree they don’t want to see students being killed.  The loss of a child is perhaps the greatest fear of any parent.

Not too long ago, there was a posting that came across my Facebook with a picture of an assault style rifle with the question “Why do you feel the need to own this type of gun?”  While I didn’t respond to the question, I did read some of the responses and many of them had the same sentiment.  It wasn’t a question of need as more of a question of want.  Others posted saying they wanted them for home protection.  Still others pointed to the 2nd Amendment said they could have them.  I really doubt the founding fathers took into consideration a weapon that has the capability of 12 to 15 rounds per minute.

All that is necessary to begin a discussion on this is for both sides to see there is a need for it.  Start with the fact neither side wants to see children killed in schools and go from there.  Both sides need to stop being blinded by what both sides perceive to be show stoppers in finding a resolution.

But most of all, no solution can be reached until both sides can agree to talk with each other.

Without a civil discussion, both sides are going to be at risk of losing what they hold dear.

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