Stacy’s Weekly Wrap-Up, Mar 30th: Collaboratively Solving Gun Safety

With another round of mass shootings and gun violence in the news yet again, I find myself wondering how we even begin to solve issues of gun violence and gun safety. With four teenagers who have grown up doing active shooter drills at school, I also wonder, How did we get here?! I shared the following thoughts on social here.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am willing to admit we have a real problem. However, I do believe that with some collaborative problem solving on gun safety we could make some meaningful change.

Hey, I noticed there’s an increase in mass shootings and associated deaths. What’s up with that?

Raw honest fact-based answer:

We are having a mental health crisis after a global pandemic without adequate resources for support, while at the same time increasing access to assault weapons, which account for the majority  of deaths in mass shootings. The industry that earns revenue from the weapons fights to retain access, and the politicians receive donations to support their agenda. So, even though the majority of Americans want change, none is happening.

Some Initial Thoughts

Firstly, I believe in the right to bear arms. While we do not own guns, my father and other family members are gun owners. He is a hunter. Our family has been nourished by many deer, boar, turkeys and even lobsters he has brought home. He is licensed, respects the laws on when to use what for which season, and prioritizes safety and education before anyone (such as myself or the boys) use his weapons.

I also don’t believe our forefathers wanted us to directly interpret only exact words without common sense updates. They, themselves, were progressive. Our country is built on abandoning rulers who prioritized their own wealth and agendas at the detriment of the people. I believe they, too, would fight for change. Especially if it meant guns were the leading cause of death for our children, and America was no longer able to be an aspirational place to live, be educated, or visit for fear of safety.

I just don’t ascribe to the belief of “all or nothing”. Life is nuanced and complex. And, like the majority of Americans, I believe we are capable of having rational discussion and coming to common sense reform to protect our youth and vulnerable people most impacted right now.

Seeing our political leaders and organizations double down by saying things like “we will not fix this” and “if you want to ban AR-15s, you are an enemy of the 2nd Amendment” while the nation grieves should be shocking.

Instead, it has become a problem that divides rather than unites us. Why?

A Little History

Originally the National Rifle Association (NRA) was focused on promoting traditional rifles and handguns. Most gun owners also shunned the AR-15, which broke from the typical wood-stocked guns that were popular. “We’d have NRA members walk by our booth and give us the finger,” said one of the earliest companies to market AR-15s. Today, it is the best-selling rifle in the US. About 1 in 20 adults (16 million) own one. [source]

What changed? The U.S. firearms industry came to embrace the gun as a marketing advantage grasping for new revenue. The shift began after the 2004 expiration of a federal assault weapons ban. Manufacturers saw a chance to ride a post-9/11 surge in military glorification, while also stoking a desire among new gun owners to personalize their weapons with tactical accessories. “We made it look cool, the same reason you buy a Corvette.” [source]

Collaborative Problem Solving on Gun Safety

Collaborative Problem Solving requires a few things:

  1. The goal is to identify a problem, not the behavior associated with it
  2. Identify the concerns each party has as a result of how that manifests
  3. A solution that addresses all parties’ concerns so that the behavior can be addressed without punishment or shame

Back to the question and answer I posed at the very beginning: Hey, I noticed there’s an increase in mass shootings and associated deaths. What’s up with that? To engage in collaborative problem solving on gun safety, we outline each party’s concerns.

The pro-gun community wants to retain access to their right to bear arms. Their concern is infringement on 2nd Amendment rights and the negative effect to the economy from reduced gun sales.

The gun reformers want to create regulations that prevents easy access to weapons for those who may harm others with them. Their concern is the number of mass shootings and deaths, especially of children and vulnerable populations.

If toddlers and traumatized teenagers can use this method of problem solving, to find a solution that meets both parties needs and solves the safety concern, I am positive we can create a solution that addresses all parties’ issues.

What do we do next?

One small step is to show lawmakers that we can find this middle ground that protects our people AND retain our rights to bear arms. In the 2nd Amendment, it doesn’t say what kind or freely without common sense screening and training before access is given. Back then, they loaded muskets with gun powder!

Question: If you need to have training, be evaluated for fitness, and get a license to drive a vehicle (because it can kill), why not to operate a deadly weapon?

Call, visit, and write to your representatives. They are listening because they know this is a topic voters care about.  If you share on social, consider using #GunOwnersForSafety. Your representatives’ team are watching. David Hogg, Founder at March for Our Lives says to “show that the NRA doesn’t represent you because you believe in working together as Americans to save our kids.”

Donate to organizations doing the work, if you can! I’ve donated to the Everytown Support Fund before and am currently donating my commisions through 3/31 to Students Demand Action.

We need to stop pretending that any discussion about regulation change for gun safety is people coming to “take guns away”. That’s a fear-based scare tactic, and I know we are all more capable of that.

 

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