I think we need to de-mythologize guns. They are not holy, they are not sacred, but they aren’t evil either. They are objects, like knives and bottles of vinegar. I can’t buy concentrated vinegar in Colorado to use on weeds because the government (influenced by herbicide companies) determined I’m not smart enough to handle it. Surely we can agree that guns are just as useful and dangerous as vinegar, and we ought to be able to have a calm conversation about preserving rights AND the safety of our children.
For some folks, the word “gun” is synonymous with the word “freedom.” It’s become a symbol to them, like the bald eagle. But, if you raise free range chickens, the word “eagle” doesn’t conjure freedom; chicken-snatching eagles are an evil pest that should be eliminated. We won’t get far until both sides realize that they’re talking past each other, one side arguing about a pest and the other about a symbol.
Rights must be nurtured with common sense. Authors have the “right” to create bloody scenes and crude dialog but sometimes we resist doing so, just to elevate the culture. We writers carry some blame for the crudeness and violence around us. By ignoring that blame, we risk losing our right to free speech. Those who treasure their right to bear arms must nurture that right by devising solutions to gun violence.
We can’t say “it’s my right” at the same time we’re saying “but it’s not my problem.”