Look for middle ground in gun debate


What am I missing in this debate over guns?

It seems that whenever the subject of gun control comes up – as it has in recent weeks – the two extremes keep trying to outshout each other. Isn’t there some middle ground to be had here?

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., told a Senate committee today that the government must do something to stem the tide of gun violence. She knows of which she speaks: Two years ago, Giffords was wounded grievously by Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson, Ariz. He would a dozen others and killed six others, including a 9-year-old girl.

Gun control activists of all stripes want to make it more difficult for bad guys to obtain guns. Then we have the other side, saying the government cannot impose any additional restrictions because, they say, it would violate constitutional guarantees that give citizens the right to own firearms.

The two sides end up bickering.

My own view is that we can impose stricter rules without violating the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

Background checks provide an example. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre said background checks won’t work with criminals, who won’t submit to any kind of check. Interesting, right? As Sen. Dick Durbin noted, “that’s the point!” Criminals will be unable to purchase a gun if they’re required to submit to background screening, he said. True, they’ll likely get them illegally, but the threat of a background check would deter them from buying a firearm from a legitimate private party or a retailer.

I guess I fail to understand why we can’t reach a compromise on this matter while preserving the essential integrity of the Second Amendment. New restrictions shouldn’t prohibit law-abiding hunters, sports shooters or collectors from purchasing firearms. The rules would take aim – pun intended – at those who shouldn’t own guns in the first place.

If only the two sides would stop talking past each other …

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