Tomorrow the President will trot out in front of members of the news media and their television cameras with a large group of children, as he conveys his Executive Powers on the issue of gun control. Plenty of people who follow politics on a daily basis have submitted their thoughts on what actions the President will take, but who cares what they guess right? All that really matters is that he'll be giving the "speech" while using children to convey the image that they are the ones down-range of legal firearms.
As a gun owner, I cringe at the thought of any new gun restrictions or restrictions on the ammunition the guns require to work properly, but I equally cringe at the messaging on both sides of the debate. First up is my side. The NRA and "The Gun Lobby" have not struck the right notes with their tried and tested, but woefully inconsiderate "the best way to stop mad gunmen is more sane gun owners." Instead of having an honest debate about guns, gun safety, and yes, even some gun control, the gun advocacy groups tend to always re-direct blame in the wake of tragic events that involved gun violence. It's as bad or worse on the Left, who were the first to advocate strict new gun control measures before the country even had a body count on the Sandy Hook massacre. In general the Left's views on guns and gun control are born out of ignorance of guns and gun ownership which in my view, woefully puts their position at a disadvantage before entering in to any meaningful debate. Once they get there, their lack of understanding of our nation's gun culture (the various types of guns, and their use) makes it hard for a serious dialog to take place even with the most open-minded gun owners and their representation.
Accuse me of being an ignorant idealist, but it is my belief that the entire debate regarding the ownership or possession of firearms, regardless of type, capacity, etc would be greatly benefited if both extremes firmly acknowledged their positions. Gun proponents would thus need to openly admit and acknowledge that all guns, but specifically semi-automatic weapons which include handguns and tactical "Assault" rifles are machines designed with the purpose of inflicting death by their use. Additionally, gun proponents would need to acknowledge that their position is that the Second Amendment should stand completely, and any change to it is not acceptable. Gun opponents before anything else should acknowledge that they are opposed to the private ownership of semiautomatic and automatic firearms, period. Additionally, the anti-gun side should be willing to acknowledge that a gun obtained through illegal means kills just as many people as one obtained legally. But above all the Anti-Gun Left should acknowledge this through transparent advocacy for the elimination and replacement of the Second Amendment with a new, 28th Amendment to the Constitution. And both sides need to agree that there is no conclusive evidence that gun restrictions or lack thereof have any impact on the prevalence of gun violence in our country.
Even if those idealistic parameters were satisfied (which I don't pretend to think they ever would be), the result of such a debate-should it take place in Congress with the idea of new legislation in mind, would likely be no action. The reason for that is simple.
There is a gun for just about every person in this country (about 350 million guns) with most estimates putting the number of guns per owner at around four. Even if we could get both sides of the debate to openly acknowledge that criminal use of firearms to kill people is a result of intent to kill, not the means to do so nothing short of a strict revocation of the 2nd Amendment followed by a nationwide effort to confiscate through an organized "buy out" program, the guns from the gun-owning public would work to dramatically reduce the number of murders committed by guns. Many in the anti-gun camp suggest this is doable as it was done in Australia in 1996 and 1997. The catch? The country had less than a million guns to collect.
Make no mistake, whatever the President does tomorrow in terms of using Executive Authority to inhibit the rights of gun owners, current and prospective neither they or will any actions Congress chooses to take or not take will have a positive affect on gun violence in this country. The reasons are numerous, but the main reason is well detailed. The sheer amount of guns currently owned, the mindset of gun owners, and the possession of the knowledge that anything short of a detailed revocation of our Second Amendment Rights will do nothing to curtail mad men from obtaining the means to kill people.