Context, common sense for stricter gun control laws

Gun Control is a loaded topic these days. At the risk of politicizing the recent tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the shooting of fire fighters in upstate New York, I’m going to share my strong opinion on this matter. May God help and bless all those affected by these horrific events.

First of all, let me acknowledge that smart and rational people sit on both sides of the gun control issue. It can be a very polarizing topic but there is authentic passion on both sides. Many have put much effort into articulating each point of view. Therefore, my thoughts here are personal and don’t bring any new thought to the topic other than my own narrative.

The second amendment does protect the rights of individuals to bear arms. However, any laws (or social norms) need to be seen in the context of the times. Without that perspective, we’d still have outdated laws such as slavery and women’s right to vote.

When the founding founders of the United States of America wrote up the constitution, the second amendment made a lot of sense. Most of the people lived in rural areas within or next to the vast and dangerous wilderness of the times. Guns provided necessary protection. Perhaps more importantly, the newly-founded country had just fought for independence against the tyranny of a distant monarchy. At the time, armed militias were a critical part of the successful revolution.

So, you can see where I’m going with this. The infrastructure of the country doesn’t require us to deal with the wilderness for most of us. And the technologies of the modern US military make it impossible for any citizen or a group of citizens to effectively arm themselves enough to fight the government.

The point that I really wanted to make, however, is that our (collective) unwillingness to acknowledge the net negative impact of trying to adhere to these “outdated” notions is creating a society that is more violent than any other in the developed world. That, in my opinion is just NOT acceptable. In the end, the big losers are the citizens of this great country who live in increasing fear.

We have the biggest economy in the world and people still immigrate here looking for the American Dream of building financial independence. The US offers the most fluid access system to capital in the world. Yet, we won’t protect our own citizens from within. Our refusal to make gun ownership a privilege rather than a right undermines our position as a world leader of democracy. How do you think China and Russia are interpreting our state’s refusal to incorporate tougher gun laws? The U.S. gun homicide rate is 30 times that of France or Australia, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and 12 times higher than the average for other developed countries.

It’s amazing to me when some Americans speak appallingly about the lawless violence in other nations such as Brazil and South Africa. Hello? Right now, the NRA wants us to have armed guards at all our elementary schools. Think about the impact of doing that to the general psyche of our society.

Even in a country where citizens would seemingly need guns like Israel, the gun laws are much more strict with regular testing requirements.

At a certain point, people have to take the “common sense” test. Solomon was a wise man who could take all the facts and make the correct common sense decision. In business, leaders do that all the time. Skilled people can make rational arguments for any side of an argument. Some get paid to do that. But when someone stands up and tells the nation that we need armed guards in our elementary schools, the people will realize how desperate that sounds. I believe such desperation will be the beginning of the end for that point of view.

I actually get paid money do make the “best” decisions for our business based upon all the facts presented. Surprisingly, these decisions are usually are pretty obvious despite the clamor from all sides.

I see this issue around gun control the same way. Over time, I believe we as a society will choose to do the right thing and make gun ownership a privilege and not a right like other developed nations. Unfortunately, like most changes, it will take time and sometimes tragedy to get us moving in the right direction.