Thursday, November 23, 2017
Opinion

John Romano: No simple answers for a nation as heavily armed as ours

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Prepare to be unhappy today.

Prepare to feel as if your government has let you down.

Because no matter where you stand on the issue of gun control, chances are pretty good that today's expected recommendations from Joe Biden's task force will disappoint.

To some, it will be an attack on the Second Amendment.

To others, it will be dismissed as a political placebo.

In reality, it will prove once again that there are no simple answers when it comes to a nation as heavily armed as ours.

For some will undoubtedly listen to Biden's recommendations and shout that he went too far. And others will hear the exact same words and shout that he did not go far enough.

So what's the solution?

Less shouting would be a start.

Instead of lobbing hyperboles back and forth, it might be worthwhile to understand that there is no single solution that will fix the problem or satisfy us all.

For instance, the gun control crowd says that adding armed guards in elementary schools will not eliminate mass shootings. And they're right.

But might a resource officer save some lives along the way?

And the pro-gun lobby says that banning high-capacity magazines will not prevent a madman from killing if he is motivated to do so. And they're right.

But how many lives might be saved if a killer has to stop and reload?

In the end, this is what is absent from the argument. The idea that the other side might actually have a point.

The problem is that too much of the debate has been focused on the silly and the extraneous. Conspiracies on one side, and assumptions on the other.

But what should not be lost is that we all want the same thing: to feel safe. For some, that means more guns. For others, that means fewer. The trick is finding middle ground.

So if there is a proposal to close loopholes on background checks, consider whether that is really a hardship for you. The NRA keeps talking about law-abiding and responsible gun owners. Why should the law-abiding and responsible among us fear added scrutiny?

And if you think the Obama administration is wimping out on the issue, consider that the Supreme Court has affirmed a citizen's right to possess a firearm, and surveys suggest roughly half the households in America have a gun owner.

The important thing is to maintain perspective. To understand that a proposal is just a proposal, and not some grand scheme to undermine democracy.

Tweaking our laws will not be a prelude to confiscating our guns, any more than requiring seat belts was a prelude to confiscating our cars.

A Gallup poll in December suggests Americans are ready for a change. For the first time in four years, a majority (58 percent) says laws covering the sale of firearms should be strengthened.

An even higher percentage (62 percent) is in favor of limiting gun show sales and high-capacity magazines.

Odds are, those are exactly the type of reforms Biden will be announcing today.

Is that enough? Some will say no. Is it too much? Some will say yes.

In the end, that will probably mean he has done his job as well as could be expected. For we have a right to own guns here. Just as we have a duty to be responsible.

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