In the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting massacre, millions of words have been written, spoken, and screamed. The left wants the Second Amendment abolished and all guns collected and destroyed, and the NRA (mostly on the right) hold it sacred and try to prevent any change in the status quo. What the nation gets is stasis, otherwise known as “no progress”.
Once again, a compromise position, a centrist one, is possible. It will not solve all problems, but at least it is a positive step (or some positive steps) in a direction that could be grudgingly accepted by all. The right’s position does not take into account that a majority of Americans find the current situation intolerable, and no action today could lead to more draconian measures in the near future. What the left does not realize, is that with hundreds of millions of guns already in the hands of the public, mostly unregistered, there is only so much that can be done, and over-reaching can seem unreasonable to those who would support sensible measures.
Here is a package of actions we could take, which, when bundled, might be acceptable. I don’t claim any of the ideas are original, but packaging them together might make sense.
- Install metal detectors at school entrances, and hire an armed security guard for each school. Kids are at least as valuable as airline travelers. Funds to flow through Homeland Security.
- Require registration and background checks on any firearm purchase, including gun shows, internet, etc., as well as retail. Criminal background, non-citizenship, or mental illness disqualifies a buyer.
- Prohibit the sale of automatic weapons, and any kit that can convert a single shot or semi-automatic weapon to automatic capabilities. A citizen cannot own a tank or 155 mm. artillery piece; nor do they need an automatic pistol or rifle.
- Re-affirm the Second Amendment.
- Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21, with the exception of honorably discharged military personnel, and peace officers.
- Make an open and generous offer by the government to repurchase automatic weapons that have been purchased in the past. Destroy them or give them to the military services.
- Allow as evidence for issuance of a search warrant, dangerous comments on the Internet and Social Media, as well as neighbor reports to police of possible armed instability.
These measures, if passed, cannot prevent another school shooting. Nothing can. They can, however, lower the probability significantly and increasingly over time. I’m sure there are other balanced proposals, but this is one that I think should be debated.