Every time we have a horrific tragedy like the recent Newtown massacre, we go through the same heated debate on gun control. And each time, the same old arguments based on ideological rhetoric, has resulted in no meaningful solutions to address the fundamental issue – that guns can kill and injure innocent people, intentionally or unintentionally.
But here’s a simple way of addressing this issue without getting into the endless debate, on difference of the ideology and ethics, interpretation of our Constitutional rights, etc. I wont even go into the discussion about whether guns serve any useful purpose in our modern civilian world or not.
Regardless of one’s particular convictions, consider the gun as just another tool,. Now consider the automobile (the car), another tool which can cause grave consequences, depending on the user and the circumstances of its use. We accept the regulation of cars and its use without any arguments.
Cars are registered and taxed, a systematic means to track cars and its owners, updating and sharing the database annually. Registration also requires cars to qualify to a certain set standards for safety and performance. And registration taxes the owners on an annual basis to offset administrative and other related costs.
Drivers are licensed, i.e. drivers are qualified by means of a written and performance (driving) test on a regular basis. They are also medically (physically as well as mentally) qualified.
Fuel is regulated and taxed, i.e. the fuel producers conform to a certain standard for production and distribution of fuel, and drivers pay fuel taxes to offset the cost of infrastructure and enforcement of regulations to support car use.
Driver insurance is mandatory, in order to provide some financial assurance in the event of damage caused by driving their cars.
The bottom line is that all tools must be used responsibly; any use of tools that can have severe consequences to themselves of those around them need to be regulated. And we have a well-accepted example in the way of our beloved cars. We have found a way to coexist with cars every day. Regulating cars and drivers should be analogous to regulating guns and gun owners, just replace the word “cars” with “guns”, “drivers” with “gun owners” and “fuel” with “bullets” in the sentences above. It’s perfectly logical and common enough be be accepted.
This is not the ultimate solution to the issues with guns; that will take a cultural mind shift which will take years if not generations to take effect. But this approach can make an immediate effect by breaking the current deadlock in taking meaningful steps toward dealing with the issue with guns.