6 Wednesday, August 14, 2019 08:54

Rep. Ron Wright: Is the gun control debate about solutions or political gamesmanship?

A cacophony of voices has emanated from the political class since the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Much of the noise comprises self-serving platitudes and finger-pointing that should be largely ignored. But this is still an opportunity for people of good faith to come together to craft solutions without political recriminations.

We should not let the opportunity pass, even if we are criticized for trying. First, let us not forget that a great many of our fellow Americans are hurting, still in shock, still in crisis. We must continue to embrace these communities, provide the support they need, and keep them front and center in our prayers.

We can overcome the cynicism of our age with faith and resist the falsehood that our good wishes and prayers have no effect in the wake of such tragedies. Often, our prayers are the most important thing we can offer. Second, we must condemn in unmistakable terms the despicable rhetoric aimed at gaining political advantage.

This includes presidential candidates who sought to blame President Trump and politicize the tragedies while people were still dying. Ignore the bile, venom, and irresponsible political speech that seeks to gain by dividing us further. Third, we must not be afraid to have a rational discussion about causes and solutions.

Honorable people can disagree, but honorable people disagree honorably. Let’s put all the ideas on the table and explore reasonable outcomes. This doesn’t mean anybody has to sacrifice their principles. It does means we put aside the petty politics that drive us to score points instead of finding solutions.

It means we don’t just play to our respective bases, or to the margins, or to those for whom any attempt to address gun violence is always a litmus test. Fourth, let’s have the courage to achieve what works and not fall for the quick and easy just to satisfy the demand to “do something.” If history has taught us anything, it is that laws that sound good and make us feel good can become terrible or ineffective public policy.

Examples abound, but a quick look at some of the war on drugs and war on poverty programs of the last 50 years will serve the purpose. Nothing illustrates the point better than the rush to criminalize entire classes of guns after every shooting. Can this be part of the discussion? Of course it can, but the gun is merely the instrument of domestic terror.

The domestic terrorist has to pull the trigger. The question remains “why?”, and it’s a question no number of gun control laws can resolve. The “why” must be answered. Fifth, don’t ignore culture. In the age of moral relativism that demands that we not judge others and simply acquiesce to whatever behavioral offense people may send our way, there are those who steadfastly refuse to consider our culture as a causal factor.

. But given the maddening frequency with which.....

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