Keeping communities and schools safe and maintaining the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns are not mutually exclusive goals. We need to move the conversation beyond bumper-sticker messages and craft workable, common-sense solutions to gun violence. The 2nd Amendment was not meant to allow people to shoot those who are exercising their 1st Amendment rights. Military-grade weapons were not meant for our neighborhood streets. But there is middle ground that keeps schoolchildren and homeowners alike safe, if we are willing to put in the honest conversational work to get there.
We must take the talking points and the hyperbole out of the conversation and work towards reforms that address the real concerns of real people. We need to find solutions to gun violence that are not necessarily tied solely to gun control, including directing the CDC and NIH to study the gun violence epidemic and release their findings publicly. This would require opposition to the Dickey Amendment, which tacitly prevents the CDC from researching gun violence. We need to listen to the American people on universal background checks and thirty-day waiting periods—supported by about 96% and 75% of the American population in 2017, according to Gallup.
We need to look at the ways in which we can make our cities, schools, and homes safer while still allowing law-abiding citizens the right to responsibly own appropriate weapons. If we are not willing to put all options on the table, we are not really invested in working toward solutions. This includes talking about licensing, age limits, and assault weapons bans, as well as “red flag” protection laws and expanded protections for victims of domestic violence (including closing the “boyfriend loophole”) while also acknowledging the importance of the 2nd Amendment to many U.S. citizens.
Read more about Kael Weston’s issue and policy priorities.