What's the Debate About Guns Really, REALLY About?
The New York Times asks today what the fight over guns is "really about."
It offers six points of view. Herewith, a sampling.
David Kopel, Independence Institute.
Many American Weberians are also “pacifist-aggressives”; that is they believe that it is wrong for anyone (or anyone other than a government employee) to use deadly force.
Risk-analyst David Ropeik:
Some of us are “individualists,” politically libertarian, who prefer a society that maximizes personal independence and individual choice.
Ciatlin Kelly, author.
As long as American women have the choice to arm themselves, and justifiably fear attack, they will purchase weapons.
Robert Walker, president, Population Institute.
America’s gun lobby would have us believe that our safety requires a heavily armed public, and that we need guns in schools, movie theaters and bars.
Geoffrey Canada, president, Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy Charter Schools.
I have seen enough angelic faces at rest in tiny caskets to make any argument about the unrestricted rights of gun owners moot.
Adam Winkler , Law professor UCLA.
The [U.S. Supreme Court has] held that while people have a right to own guns – and thus government can never disarm the civilian population – there is also plenty of room for gun control under the Second Amendment.
The Times' question can lead to a lot of deep thinking. The gun debate can plausibly be said to be "really about" the relationship between state and society in English-speaking countries, the history of American frontier settlement, Southern folkways of duel and vendetta, the baby boomers' rejection of central authority, the urban crime wave of the 1960s-90s, racial anxieties in a more diverse America, etc. etc. etc.
From where I sit, though, we're going to do a lot better if we leave aside the meta-questions and address the practical questions:
1) How do we protect legitimate interests of hunters and responsible gun owners?
2) How do we keep guns out of improper hands?
What's the debate over guns "really about"? It's "really about" guns - or should be.