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Steve Lunetta: Why is compromise so difficult?

Posted: January 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Why is it that we human beings can be so stubborn? I find it remarkable that some folks, when faced with a significant problem, cannot come up with anything better than "no".

Of course, we see this everywhere. The Democrats, when faced with a huge financial mess, are told that we must cut spending. Their answer is "no". Side-note: this is the second time in my recollection that Republicans have caved on raising taxes with the understanding that there will be budget cuts later.

The last time, President Reagan was betrayed and the spending cuts never happened. Smart money says this scenario will repeat itself.

Public sector employee unions, when faced with county and municipal budgets that are breaking, say "no" to helping their employers stave off bankruptcy.

Conservative people are not immune either.

The National Rifle Association says "no" anytime the concept of controls on guns is raised.

Let’s preface this discussion by stating that I own guns. I legally own rifles and shotguns and store them in my home with trigger locks and keys hidden.

I think of myself as a responsible gun owner and I know many of my friends and neighbors are as well.

I support the second amendment and our right to bear arms. But, the mounting incidents of disturbed young men obtaining weapons and killing numerous others is changing my mind. We need a different path and stop saying "no".

In thinking about the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the shooter (Adam Lanza) was greatly aided by a Bushmaster 0.223 semi-automatic assault rifle. This is the same gun that was used in the Washington DC sniper shootings in 2002 that left 10 dead.

Batman movie shooter James Holmes was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. Twelve people died at the hands of this sick young man.

Columbine shooter Eric Harris used a Hi-point model 995 carbine which, in theory, is a pistol but operates more like a semi-automatic assault rifle. Harris and his partner left 12 dead as well.

Maybe it is time we started thinking about restrictions on assault rifles, stop saying "no", and find a reasonable compromise.

Think of this from a practical standpoint.

We will always have crazies in society. But, if we can somehow restrict the level of firepower to them, we may have fewer dead. Take, for example, the recent incident near Bakersfield at Taft Union High School.

The shooter was equipped with a simple shotgun. He was able to seriously injure only one person before a heroic teacher stopped him. Its unclear if the gun was a pump or a "break-open" type which carry far fewer rounds and take longer to reload.

But the point is made- no assault rifle means fewer dead and injured.

Some may argue that placing restrictions on firearms is a "slippery slope" that will lead to more restrictions on guns that will eventually lead to the revocation of the second amendment. I don’t believe that anymore.

In 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was signed into law by President Clinton. The ban lasted 10 years and did not spawn a plethora of new restrictions on guns. In fact, after the ban expired in 2004, it could not be renewed due to the efforts of the gun lobby.

It is also true that people kill people and not firearms.

However, we cannot ignore one functional ingredient in this toxic stew is that the type of weapon used has a huge impact on the amount of damage inflicted.

So, it is time we put an assault weapons ban back on the table. But, it is also time to start looking at the culture that creates a young male shooter.

We need to dissect the reasons for their creation.

My uninformed guess is that movies, television, and computer games is a significant cause.

Of course, Hollywood and the media will say "no".

In Part 2 of this column, we will explore the other side of the issue and what can be brought to the table to control a violent and destructive aspect of our culture.

This is a compromise we need to prevent more tragedy at the hands of disturbed people like Lanza, Holmes, and Harris.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and a proud gun owner. He can be reached at


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