Letter: Gun control conversation needs refining, new focus

From: Tom Lane


We need to reframe the conversation about gun control in this country. Currently, we have this either/or debate going on from the right and the left. It gets us nowhere. We are not going to eliminate all guns, and we are not going to give absolute freedom to own guns. So just quit that talk.

As I see it, we need to redefine the Second Amendment to read, “We have a limited right to bear arms.” This is a fact of that piece of our United States Constitution. We do not have a right to own a machine gun, a hand grenade, a rocket launcher, a cannon, a tank and so on, up to a nuclear warhead. They are all arms and we do not have a right to bear them. Simple fact.

We began, as a country, to limit what individuals can possess in terms of arms a long time ago. I am not sure what the basis of this completely agreed to restriction is. I would guess that arms that are weapons of mass destruction have no place in the hands of any individual. No one disputes this. I have never seen the National Rifle Association come out for freedom to possess bombs; its leaders are not stupid.

What is stupid is the incessant fight over a simple issue. Where do we draw the line? We have already drawn it, right between semi-automatic weapons and fully automatic ones. We can move the line a bit and outlaw large clips and the semi-automatic guns. They are military weapons, not for hunting or protection, unless you think the government is coming to get you. Then, if that were true, they could send in a drone and wipe you out in a moment. Quit kidding yourself.

And on the other side, the left needs to quit making everyone who owns a gun into some kind of insecure nut job. Shooting is a real sport, hunting is a real sport and people who own guns, for the most part, are pretty normal people. Unfortunately, home security is real for many people, and owning a gun lets some people sleep better. Let them have their pistol or shotgun.

Finally, will redrawing that line stop all the mass killings and attacks we have had? No. There will always be some deranged person who wants to prove a point, make a statement, find infamy, or whatever, by killing people. To stop all that is a long road ahead of us. But, I hope we can agree to not make it easy for them do that in large numbers. One step at a time.