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Our View: Enforce the gun laws we already have

Posted: March 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Our Founding Fathers in their profound wisdom created a constitutional government whose central document intended not to grant people power but to protect them from it. The formation of a checks and balances system between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches stipulated separate powers that would protect each from the power of the other two.

The Bill of Rights was similarly framed largely to protect the people from the government that was formed to serve them.

The First Amendment, for example, is not about granting the right to say whatever. It was created with some parameters to prevent government from suppressing free speech.

The Founding Fathers appropriately saw "the press" as the path to vigilance of transparency in government.

This notion of limiting the power of government and preservation of personal liberties is arguably the basis of the vibrancy and survival of the Republic. Because of it we remain the envy of oppressed peoples around the world.

Today there is a national conversation about the Second Amendment, the Right to Bear Arms.

Like the First Amendment its purpose is to protect people from a government that comes to exist for its own purposes ant the expense of a government that exists "of the people, for the people, by the people".

The Second Amendment becomes the ultimate checks and balance against a government of expanding power and intrusion into daily life.

People who are opposed to gun control cite the importance of the Second Amendment and are for the most part supported by the United States Supreme Court.

Gun control advocates fall generally into two groups. In the first group gun control is more about control than guns, a position that the authors of the Constitution were appropriately leery of.

The second group sees some form gun control as a way of reducing the deadly manifestations of a growing culture of violence in America.

Like our Founding Fathers we are also leery of the intentions of the first group but we acknowledge the concerns of the second group.

We make this distinction at the risk of being too general because there is a broader willingness to have a national discussion the interests of the second group and limited interest in the Constitution threatening intentions of the first group.

The second group includes an array of unique interests and concerns and a common "need to do something" to thwart the increasing incidence of mass shootings particularly as it pertains to children.

Perhaps everyone agrees we need to do something. The question becomes, what are the core causes and what course of action will produce the most effective results.

Guns are a primary tool in the growing culture of violence in America.

There is no denying that. But the overwhelming percentage of guns in this country is not used for or with malicious intent.

Gun ownership in America is pervasive and their lawful use the norm.

Law abiding citizens should not be the ones that are most impacted by current gun control proposals.

Guns in the hands of people who should not have them or any weapon are a social detriment. In our view any serious discussion on gun control should focus less on the guns and more on the state of mind of the people who posses them.

Insufficient attention nationally to mental health issues, a growing culture of violence, criminal gangs, and breakdowns in the family unit are primary factors in murder in America.

We believe that the most immediate corrective impact would come from a more aggressive enforcement of the laws we already have on the books for keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

Americans have always had guns. The proliferation of mass killings that has sparked this discussion is a more recent development.

If gun control worked, cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. with the most stringent of current controls would be among Americas most safe cities instead of the worst.

To truly and effectively address gun violence in America we would like to see more focus on the root causes and less on the methods.

The politics of gun violence are distracting us from real solutions in this important national concern.

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