We can’t make people less stupid or hateful, or instill a sense of civil responsibility into demagogues who incite the ignorant, the fearful and the unbalanced to acts of violence.
We can decide to limit the availability of guns and the ways in which they can be used in a civil society. Yes, we can. And, I would say, we must. Otherwise, we probably don’t qualify as a civilized democracy of citizen-equals.
We have rules for what kinds of vehicles can operate on the street, and who can drive them. If gun owners tell you that their gun has never killed anyone, perhaps it’s because they use it responsibly. Just as we can’t guarantee that everyone will drive carefully, we can’t guarantee that everyone who currently has access to a gun will do so, either. It is reasonable to establish better limits.
The answer is to have fewer guns, especially guns that have no purpose other than wreaking mayhem against humans, and to control who can have them and how and where they can be carried. That won’t eliminate every risk, and it won’t stop every shooting, but it is a start. We owe it to our society to urge this sort of action on our leadership.
We can act. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence represents a useful, practical way to take collective action as concerned and responsible citizens. You may know that James Brady is the former White House press secretary who was critically wounded during an assassination attempt against President Reagan.
I encourage you to visit their Web site, where you can learn about their programs and find ways to join a reasoned, responsible effort against the enabling of senseless violence:
In a democracy, all may speak. In a group in which some carry concealed weapons, there is no true democracy.