Supreme Court to Country on Guns: Go Local!

Ideas and Issues

Gun_Show400New Orleans  In the wake of the massacre at San Bernardino using military grade assault rifles among other weapons, once again some folks are hoping there will be a movement towards more sensible regulation of these kinds of guns at the least. Others were heartened when the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal on regulations by a community in Illinois that named and shamed certain guns, including these types of assault weapons, in a local ordinance, thereby letting the ban stand.

The Supreme Court has refused to handle lawsuits challenging federal, state, or local gun regulation 70 different times since 2008. Who can tell with the Roberts’ Court, but the implicit message seems to be that if citizens have the will to regulate in other jurisdictions from local communities to states to even the federal government, then the current court is not inclined to get into the mess and turn the tables over on a specious Second Amendment claim.

Social Policy Press is preparing to release Guns and Kids: Can We Stop the Carnage by legal scholar Frank Strier, an emeritus professor at California State. We’ll be talking about this more, but Professor Strier cautions that handguns not assault guns are 99.9% of the issue, when it comes to deaths in this area.

The problem for the President and for many working in the echo chamber where only your own voice can be heard without engaging others is that the ideological and practical gulf between citizens is huge on this issue. I was reminded of this in a brief, pre-dawn conversation with one of my brothers-in-law, who I deeply admire and respect in all things, recently when we stumbled on this issue where our shared outrage at the San Bernardino shooting led us to a frustrated stalemate on what should be done in my view or not done in his opinion.

A long email from a listener named Shawn Buffalo to a KABF on-the-air discussion recently spelled out clearly the gulf that must be bridged as well, as he wrote me,

…the two men speaking were talking about how gun rights should be revoked and how hunters don’t need assault weapons. Hunters don’t need them. Citizens do need them to defend against unjust government hostility and even more if our government ever did go outside the peoples will. I surely don’t believe this will happen, but I can’t guarantee it. I don’t own any assault weapons or fire arms. It’s the principle that citizens can arm if needed. Then they said that if this was passed, people wouldn’t be able to buy them. What store do we buy meth at again? Oh, we can’t get it at a store because it’s illegal. Glad we solved that issue. I didn’t post that I am a recipient of the CIB and Valor device for heroism while in combat during one of my tours in Iraq. I trained Iraq Soldiers. I have more than 5 years in deployment between Afghan and Iraq. We never trained ISIS to combat anyone and we never trained the Taliban in Afghan. Both of these actions were stated on this show. Insulted is the only word I know to describe my state of mind after hearing these men talk. Both of these groups need to be engaged in a manner that locates all their elements, fixing there position and then killing them or forcing their unconditional surrender.

Anyone, anywhere, anytime who thinks the issues of guns and gun control can be solved easily needs to get out of their own cocoon and talk to somebody or almost anybody and measure the distance in the discussion on this critical, life-and-death issue. It won’t be just leadership and compromise that gets us to a better, safer place, but listening and learning to search for solution together.