The world is changing at an increasing rate. This is called the “age of accelerations”. Unfortunately our government, our laws, and public attitude is not keeping pace with this rapid pace of change in a way that allows up to effectively process and deal with change1. The gun issue is a high profile, life-and-death example of this disparity in the rate of change. Most people recognize the role of guns as a leading cause of premature death today. We also conclude that repeal of the 2nd amendment is not practical. A restrictive re-interpretation of gun rights by the Supreme Court is unlikely to happen anytime soon. So what can ordinary citizens like us2 do to make the United States a place with fewer gun deaths that is more in line with the rest of the world?
- Support restrictive gun laws. This is the most immediate and ‘doable’ proposal. These laws can limit, hold accountable, slow down, register, investigate and otherwise harass potential gun buyers, gun sellers and existing gun owners.
- Support state laws that prohibit open carry across state lines. Let your state legislators know via email and telephone how important these laws are in making you feel safe in your community3.
- Support high taxes on guns. When we factor in all of the public costs associated with gun crimes, the cost of gun ownership should be much higher than it is today.
- Support development of technology that makes guns obsolete4. The technology for hurling little pieces of metal through the air with the intent of killing a person has been around for centuries. Eventually new technology will make that old technology obsolete. When it does, the gun violence paradigm will be changed.
- Bring liability lawsuits against gun makers, sellers, and owners as often as possible.
- Make it clear that you would not vote for a political candidate who does not enthusiastically favor more restrictive gun laws.
- Support civic groups lobbying lawmakers to do whatever is necessary to disarm the nation. Support their efforts to unseat lawmakers who are gun rights supporters,
1 The 2017 book “Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” by Thomas L. Friedman deals with the disruptions and dynamics of change that influenced this blog post.
2 I have been a gun owner, a supporter of gun rights, a Republican, a financial supporter of Republican candidates who upheld gun rights and a member of the NRA. But I recognize that these former beliefs no longer fit in the world today. Now I would support any measure that leads to the disarming of our nation.
3 A high profile 2015 case of a Philadelphia woman who carried a handgun into New Jersey raised awareness of the importance of gun owners to be aware of the location on their weapons and to be mindful of local gun laws. The woman was pardoned by the governor for her victimless crime and the state made its public lesson quite effectively through news publicity of the case.
4 New technology could well make the world more dangerous. For example, the imaginary laser weapon that vaporizes people would be worse than guns. This post only addresses the gun issue.