The problem with gun violence is that it isn’t a single issue, but many. Suicides, mass shootings, and single homicides all have different causes and should be dealt with separately. That’s why I advocate looking at each of these problems from a public health perspective to find solutions.
That said, there is compromise waiting to be achieved on this issue. We don’t have to be the world’s only developed country that suffers from monthly mass shootings, and we don’t have to give up our Second Amendment rights either. But the only way we can strike the correct balance is to elect legislators who are willing to talk about the issue. Our current Republican office holders have shown that they can’t even pass measures like banning bump stocks or implementing universal background checks, which have overwhelming constituent support. These basic, NRA-approved measures should be the beginning of the discussion, not the end.
I have family members who are part of America’s gun culture. I love going shooting with them. I know that they teach their kids how to respect their weapons and handle them safely. I also know they’d never use their guns against another human being unless their lives were being threatened. Unfortunately, not everyone has this positive background. Conscientious legislation can avoid putting burdens on law-abiding gun owners while ensuring that those individuals who shouldn’t have guns can’t get them through a loophole.