My “conservative*” family and friends (mostly family?) are some of the most, honest, decent, hard working, full of common sense, tolerant, generous people that I know. I daresay in the world.
We disagree, sometimes strongly, on some policy issues. Sometimes I think they are full of sh… let’s say “beans.” Yet, we respect each other’s integrity in disagreement.
I share these thoughts because sometimes the decency and character of people who disagree with us is called into question. This is done by all sides.
*NOTE: “Conservative” is in quotes because the term is used too broadly today. How does it include people who are supportive of LGBTQ rights as well as homophobes, for example?
In the wake of recent mass shootings there are renewed calls for improvements in gun regulations. Opponents have often taken to pointing out that people in the United States have always had guns and the proportion of gun ownership has remained relatively constant. “Guns haven’t changed, our permissive society, poor parenting and violence in entertainment and video games have changed. These are the real causes of increased gun crimes.
Two points are raised by this argument. First, sure parenting and entertainment have changed. Let’s do what we can to improve this problem. We must remember that the Amendment BEFORE their treasured 2nd Amendment protects makers of entertainment and video games from most government regulation. Changes in this realm will be mostly by voluntary means such as boycott, advocacy and education.
Second, as is often the case with treasured narratives, this one ignores MANY changes not so convenient for the views of most “conservatives:”
- The social safety net, including family connections, has been incredibly frayed;
- Lack of stability due to economic conditions has increased tremendously;
- Suburban development, responding to mobility and other factors, including market forces have led to social isolation;
- Insecurity in many realms–from jobs to healthcare to housing costs.
Popularity of Semiautomstic weapons
One other change should not be overlooked: the popularity of semiautomatic firearms, especially rifles in recent years.
While people may be more prone to assault for emotional or mental health reasons due to a number of factors, the popularity and easy access to semiautomatic weapons, especially rifles seems to have increased the volume of death and injury from the attacks.
There is much that we agree on:
- Sensible gun laws that respect the Constitution AND keep deadly weapons out of the hands of criminals and people with mental illness.
- That we treasure the variety of America’s “melting pot.” This is true for many people who want secure borders. [Hopefully, folks will look beyond buzz words that “trigger” some folks– left or right.]