Peggy Noonan is former presidential speechwriter and current columnist and author wrote a recent article called The Parkland Massacre and the Air We Breathe. Noonan perceptively identifies the degradation of our society starting with the dissolution of the family as well as cultural inputs which are negatively impacting all of us.
Near the end of her article she proposes a compromise in public policy goals between Republicans and Democrats when she says,
The idea: Trade banning assault weapons for banning late-term abortion. Make illegal a killing machine and a killing procedure.
In both cases the lives of children would be saved.
Wouldn’t this clean some of the air? Wouldn’t we all breathe a little easier?
It is a provocative and innovative proposal that is likely meant to call both the Republican’s and Democrat’s bluff rather than be taken seriously as a piece of legislation. However, I can see this type of idea being more popular among voters as the debate on guns moves forward.
Noonan clearly sees that each group wants the opposition’s purported rights eradicated on moral grounds. However, her case is a bit too simplistic in that the moral analogy of banning a gun versus banning the killing of an unborn child are not, in my opinion, equally weighted. The analogy further slips when comparing the two in light of the Constitution whereas one right is explicit and pervasive since the founding and the other is interpreted as implied and added late. However, I see the merit in offering her argument as an olive branch in hopes of some change.
- point- what does it hurt someone who does not own an AR-15 if we ban others from purchasing them?
- counter-point- it requires a stretch to say that, “since I am not participating in a particular constitutional right, then I can remove that right from others. Apply this logic to other rights and you see the problem.”
- point- what does it hurt anyone to remove or ban AR-15s?
- counter-point- this should not be the question. The question is, how can we stop public mass shootings from happening in schools? this prompts the next question, how would removing this gun from law-abiding, well adjusted, responsible citizens impact the amount of public mass shootings in schools? There are multiple ways to answer this question. Banning the sale or manufacturing of a particular rifle would likely make many feel better but would not stop public mass shootings.
- Point- gun owners or gun rights supporters shouldn’t be concerned about a ban on AR-15s, there are plenty of other guns to protect their families with.
- counter-point- this is exactly a good reason to be concerned. If the gun rights proponent is arguing that the AR-15 or any “assault rifle” has the capacity to inflict massive destruction and death and therefore should be banned, then the logic also applies to hand-guns. Hand guns are responsible for the VAST VAST majority of gun violence and murder in the U.S. and around the world. Handguns can also inflict massive damage very quickly as well. Just a couple examples: Fort Hood 2009- 13 dead many more injured, Virginia Tech 2007- 33 dead many more injured, Charleston Church 2015- 9 dead. All committed with hand guns.
- Would gun control advocates promise that this is their last type of gun they try to ban if gun rights advocates agree to make the compromise and give up their rights? Probably not is my guess.
Any law should not be a band-aid but should really attempt to see what actually happened that day and stop it from occurring again. There is common ground and compromise that can be made. Armed security or teachers, metal detectors, automatic lock-down door systems similar to hospitals, Gun Violence Restraining Orders, better enforcement of current laws, consequences for mistakes by the FBI, better mental health policy, etc… are all areas that contribute to this conversation and all should be on the table. All are effected and all of us suffer when the innocent die.
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