Chris Graham: On both sides of the gun control debate

It happens every time we have a mass-shooting tragedy. The NRA gets out front defending the rights of Americans to own as many guns, legally, as they want, and gun-control advocates push for more restrictions.

Both sides have good points, which is why we’re nowhere near resolving our stance on what makes sense in terms of gun ownership.

Well, there’s that, and the work of the NRA over the past four decades to redefine what the Founders meant in the Second Amendment.

Wherever you stand on gun ownership, the phrasing about a “well-regulated militia” meant something back in the 18th century, despite the efforts of the NRA to brainwash us otherwise.

That said, the conservative position on guns – part anti-government fervor, part reality check, that gun-control laws catch a lot more law-abiding citizens than they do criminals – has its own sway.

If we could recognize that conservatives are at least partly right that private gun ownership can play a role in individual security and that liberals are at least partly right that individuals don’t need arsenals that could overturn small countries, maybe we could find some common ground.

The problem is neither side trusts the other enough to achieve an everybody wins compromise. The NRA has framed the debate such that efforts to take high-powered weapons out of play are treated as encroachments on freedom of the highest order. The gun-control lobby, meanwhile, clings to its religion that guns are bad, and that people who own them are worse.

The debate simmers until incidents like the mass shooting in Colorado last week get us all going again.

I doubt seriously that we’ll ever come to any kind of sensible resolution, which really isn’t saying a lot about our cultural maturity level, is it?

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