Gun debate has two sides

Friday, October 9, 2015

Despite highly polarized opinions regarding gun control, both sides have points to be made.

The absolutist position of the NRA leadership opposes measures that the vast majority of Americans support, such federal imposition of universal background checks and waiting periods for purchases; restrictive licensing of gun dealers and restrictions on military-purpose options such as extended clips.

Gun advocates do have a point that a basic principle of our country is the right to possess lethal force for all but convicted felons and those adjudicated as mentally incompetent. Therefore there will always be homicides involving guns.

In a country that is as saturated with guns as ours, there will also be gun homicides by those who are legally prohibited from possessing guns, although law enforcement should continue to make arrests and confiscations when such violations are discovered.

The "Wild West" model advocated by some - an armed public where the public is responsible for using lethal force to stop murderous acts would create a public safety nightmare. The rare cases, such as that of Trayvon Martin, of an imagined threat causing a fatality would become much more common if real threats in the form of armed people surrounded us.

Both sides need to acknowledge the limitations of their objectives.