It is all too easy to polarize against the left-wing of the democratic party. It’s easy to say they want to take away our constitutional Second Amendment rights — the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. But, in reality, most of those in the democratic party want safety for the nation — the general population and especially our children.
This is one of the two black and white views that amplify separation and alienation. The other extreme view is crucifying the gun owners that want guns, AR-15 rifles cartridges, and belts. It is vital to realize that most people buying these weapons are genuinely doing it for their own security and feelings of safety.
Most of this group truly anticipate that there will be a civil war, and they want to be ready. It is vital that we don’t demonize either main group. Like many other points of contention, there are extremes on both sides that dominate conversations in the media and in private. It so often happens that one extreme, in their defiant outrage and anger, gives us the appearance that the other side is dramatically unreasonable, and so, there needs to be a fight to protect rights.
In order to ensure gun safety without infringing on anyone’s rights, we need to find a way to clearly identify the safety and psychological stability of each gun owner. This is a big task, but it would mean turning a massive problem into a potential force for protection. Today we’ll explore this topic in detail and offer some possible solutions and alternatives that keep in mind safety and caring for our fellow Americans.
How do Americans think and view gun control?
It is obvious from the results of polls and surveys that a significant majority in both camps want sensible gun safety laws. But it’s the political leaders of both parties who are not honoring the real majority of either side. It is only by assuming the goodwill of each side at some level that there is a chance for some healthy dialogue that can help solve the current crisis we are in.
Seeing The Innocence of Both Sides
The best chance we have of breaking the polarization and gridlock is by seeing the innocence and goodwill on both sides. The truth is that there is enormous innocence in a large number of Americans’ views on both ends of the spectrum. But unfortunately, it is all too easy to demonize and exaggerate a whole group because of the fringe few that create destruction or alienation.
The dominant innocent view of gun owners is often something like, “I want to feel safe and won’t unless I have protection. I won’t ever use it toward anyone who isn’t endangering me or those I love. I believe that I have to prepare for a civil war where I might face another attack from someone with an AR-15 or equivalent.”
This is very hard to conceive of for the vast majority of gun safety people on the left in the country. This is because they don’t assume there will be a civil war. So, they don’t generally understand the fear of needing protection or the ability to fight with an equivalent weapon.
The prevalent view of those that want greater gun safety is, “I want to do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety of the largest number of citizens in the United States. There is no reason I can conceive of that anyone would need an AR-15 for sensible protection. They must have ulterior motives that are ridiculously dangerous for everyone.”
It is easier to understand both sides if we look for their core innocence to see that we aren’t generally dealing with evil or something that most individuals can’t relate to. To develop guidelines to ensure both views are supported, we need to blend these two views. It’s the best chance of creating blended support that works for both perspectives. But, at the end of the day, we need to truly understand both sets of needs more deeply.
The Dichotomy within Our Constitution
Our founding fathers likely had conscious or unconscious concerns of an uprising based on either fear, guilt or both. It likely at least stemmed from the fact that African Americans continued to be sold in slavery, mistreated, and would eventually fight for their freedom and liberation. That is not to say that this was the only reason, but seeing or sensing this kind of alienation would undoubtedly enhance the need for civilian safety
Why would this be surprising when a human being isn’t even clearly recognized as human enough to have rights? Our Constitution failed to directly abolish slavery and, at the same time, didn’t disallow states to continue with it. It appeared at one level to provide for the well-being of all people. However, it allowed the practice of slavery to still exist without endorsing it. It states that ‘all men are created equal and deserve equal protection; however, it failed to address the slavery situation with a clear direction of liberation.
To quote the Constitution, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
But the fact remains that it allowed slavery to continue without direct reference to the practice. One can only imagine how this double message (the promise only covering white people) would instill a primal fear of revolt. This, in turn, could only help increase the fear of various forms of civil war and thus create the need for the protection of arms.
The main point here is that this was one of the catalysts for the need for civilian protection and rights to defend oneself. It is helpful to see our founding father’s environment to better understand some of the underpinnings of the second amendment. This understanding makes it more comprehensible as to some of the reasons why the need for ‘protection’ was placed in the Constitution.
Governmental and National Agreements for Freedom and Safety
Understanding the history of our country underscores the need for a balanced implementation and validation of the second amendment. We need to consider the issues we’re facing as Americans and the unintended and unanticipated consequences of gun rights. This ambiguity, fear, confusion, and contradiction clarify why there is a need to have a rational conversation with the people in the middle that represent ‘the most balanced people on both sides of the issue.
This is where there could be an agreement through their sincere contemplation and communication. It seems pretty evident that the conclusion (but not the nuances) would be to support the second amendment with strict boundaries that would not reinforce the likelihood of unintended murder by anyone.
There would have to be a buy-in by those who want to dignify their second amendment rights to see that this will be worthy of respect, privilege, and perhaps even a more significant role in protecting our country. If this is seen as intended, as a middle position, with a possibility of the gun owners being an additional protective force in the country, it would align in some formal way with the national guard or the police.
Developing safety standards keeping freedom in mind
Careful consideration of honoring a waiting period, background checks, training, certification, basic psychological stability, eliminating or reducing AR-15s and other magazines, and other safeguards to dignify the dangers and the privilege of owning a gun are critical aspects of the balance. Those that have not had the proper training (military, police, clubs, or formal training by a licensed facility) will almost certainly need this certification by an authorized body and will have to go through a more elongated kind of training if the weaponry is more dangerous. This would need to apply to a limited version of training for those with guns already and a waiver for those with formal military experience or life training with accredited facilities.
Under these conditions, it will be fully legal. Those people that have gone through the approved training and psychological testing will be utilizing the real intent of the Constitution, which is to be a counter-balance of another level of safety. There are several areas that we need to come to an agreement on — whether to ban or ensure excessive training with AR-15s, belts of weapons, or alterations of weapons that allow for mass killing quickly, the depth of psychological background checks, or which violence records need to be a part of the safety for our country. Our founding fathers could never have imagined the amount of senseless death we have today. While I believe they would want to keep these rights, they would ensure we have sane checks and responsibilities.
A Possible Supportive Role for Gun Owners
A large percentage of these trained people could then be eligible to be part of a protective element of an extended national guard program. This would likely require another level of screening. Clearly, the founding fathers had nothing but protection in mind in case of an uprising from one element of society against each other or the government. The more we can align gun owners as protectors, the safer we will be. They could even play a role in a mass amount of insecure places in our society once they are carefully trained.
Empowering the Police to Protect Against Mass Murder
Suppose a state doesn’t have this kind of elimination or training for the more dangerous weapons. In that case, there needs to be greater empowerment for those who can protect us. The police would need access to the same kind of weaponry only used for this kind of situation (a live mass murder). This means that every police department would have exclusive access to these weapons for this kind of protection. It is the same kind of protection that has currently safeguarded (even though it is not entirely safe yet) the world from nuclear war by having two sides equally capable of destroying each other to lessen the danger.
Each party’s position or preference regarding gun safety doesn’t see the ramifications of a generalized view. The democrats don’t see the potentially endless power struggle of trying to eliminate the 300 million+ guns already in this country. It is vital that the democrats relate to the fears, distrust, and anger of the gun owners that are all too real to them. Denying this reality assures the chance of non-movement in an endless power struggle that is only increasing.
Seeing The Unintended Consequences
All gun owners, especially those with higher capacity magazines, need to recognize the unintended consequences of the few enraged, mentally disturbed, impulsive, or untrained segments of their population. They realize that even though they and their friends are reliable and responsible, it has given the key for violence to occur at a scale. A scale that can be greatly lessened by moving out of the power struggle and looking for common ground and safety.
It is clear that a lot of innocents need to gather to courageously move toward requiring earning a license to hold arms with qualified trainers. The sensibility would be no different than requiring driver-ed before allowing a teenager (who is still a child) to drive a car. It is not a punishment and has nothing to do with lessening second amendment rights, but it has to do with finding a way for the right and privilege to bear arms to be earned. This honest reflection of the unintended use of weapons is why training and certifications are needed.
Drivers Licenses, Seat Belts, Doctor Education, and Gun Training
Would you sit on a plane if you knew your pilot had no training? Or a license to fly? When you drive someone, won’t you ask the passengers to put on their seat belts? Or be present to help train teenagers in your family to drive? Would you seek treatment from a doctor who didn’t train with the right doctors in their specialty? These are the minimum requirements to drive, fly, and treat others. Guns rights advocates must seek similar conditions to bear arms because that is what the founding fathers, or any sane group, would expect from those around them.
The Debate About Practicality of Training
There will have to be a great deal of practicality to deal with the sheer volume of training for those that don’t have a verified background of experience with weapon safety. This training could be a mandatory group day of observation, guidance, and certification. Online education and psychological validation by a standard test would seem to be another part of the additional benefits, safety measures, and costs debate.
We also need to consider the obvious resistance that will come about the practicality of training more than 100 million American active gun owners. Limiting the training to make it the most practical balance of safety, realistic capacity, and costs will be necessary. What must be remembered is that we are dealing with life and death on an ongoing basis. This would reduce the number of deaths by a significant amount and allow for a force of good-natured people who are pro-guns to become part of the solution instead of the problem.
As a potential solution, we could have approved groups to help gun owners become safety officers in various soft targets. It would be a mix of authorized safety officers, that would be undercover and openly available with pagers for a prompt response. It is even possible that it could be a requirement that a certain percentage of gun owners would need to sign up to be on-call to serve with the national guard in emergencies — to cover a broader range of locations.
It is hard to imagine greater safety with more protectors and greater training. The benefits of both of these positive outcomes could change our position in the world. However, we also need to be realistic that, unlike other countries, we need to face our current reality of there being so many more guns than there are in other countries that a general ban or compensation for gun refunds is not as viable as a country like Canada. It is also clear that if it is decided that AR-15s and their equivalents are allowed, it is absolutely vital that the training for these more destructive weapons must require in-depth, extensive training since these weapons could cause mass murder.
We could also use our national guard or the military to provide a good deal of the training. It also seems utterly sensible to only allow those over the age of 21 to buy a gun, much like the alcohol laws of most states. Similarly, there needs to be a waiting period — it is not as safe to simply buy a gun and ammunition without the proper checks and training.
After all, why would there be a need to get a gun urgently unless it is for potentially impulsive reasons?
Responding to the Challenges of Gun Violence and Freedom
Most who have used guns to murder others without reason have had extreme psychological and emotional traumas. They have likely experienced and suppressed a great degree of fear, anger, distrust, and alienation. Such individuals would be surveilled, and our society needs to have treatment centers that are set up for this purpose.
We need to hire people to scan the internet (especially social media) for any warnings. It’s been common for these mass murderers to indicate what they will do hours before the heinous acts have occurred. Every school counselor needs formal training to look for the warning signs of lower-key violence, violent talk, threats, isolation, and alienation to refer such individuals to the centers that specialize in counseling for those suffering from this severe kind of anti-social wounds. It may be that it is the non-violent gun owners themselves that could most easily see the types of things that they realize are warning signs that would make them the best psychologists or experts on the lookout for danger signs.
Not demonizing a large percentage of our population is the key to truly having a chance to resolve this black and white thinking. I know of a couple of friends that would be happy to use their weaponry if they had a pager and the danger was in their area.
Turning this around partially to realize that there indeed are many good people that would serve our country’s needs in schools, markets, hospitals, and religious organizations is a way to unite in this horrendous issue of our time. It may be that all of the problems in this article may only be used in certain states. But it seems clear that we can have a proper balance when we stop seeing the other side of the population as evil or potential murderers along with the opposition being simply violators of the second amendment.
I believe we would do well to ask the gun owners at the various levels to see if they’d be willing to be a protective arm for the country with the national guard and have simple testing. This will be a significant step toward protection, safety, and unity if there isn’t able to be an agreement to limit or eliminate AR-15s, background checks, waiting periods, and raising age limits. I believe it is a good debate whether all of these changes would be better than activating the maximum contribution of safety by those that own the guns. All of these nuanced aspects of the debate require both gun owners and those against guns to come to the middle and figure out a balanced solution — one that does not disregard the fears of either side.