Pundits and politicians -- who seem to live in a bubble without contact with ordinary people -- are at a loss for ways to stem the epidemic of gun violence in the US. It's time for ordinary people -- people who go to the movies, work in federal office buildings, and attend schools and colleges -- to put pressure on them to control guns in a serious way. We have to stop thinking of bandaids and start thinking of real solutions and real ways to apply political pressure.
We need some creative thinking here. A few suggestions:
1. Publicize the number of guns. There are 312 million people in the US and, according to the Small Arms Survey, 270 million firearms -- almost one for every man, woman and child in the US.
The federal government prescribes standards for signs on the interstate highway system. Why can't the Department of Transportation mandate signs at every state border saying something like "You are entering Colorado. There are an estimated _ million privately owned guns in this state"? That would make people appropriately careful when approaching a citizen of that state. It would also, of course, call attention to the size of the gun problem.
2. Go after private armies. Blackwater (now known as Academi) has a boatload of paramilitary training sites inside the US, stockpiled with weapons. What's to keep them from turning on their own government if they don't like something it does? Push the government to revoke their licenses and terminate private security contracts. The founding fathers may have feared standing government armies, but these privateers are far more scary. They don't have the right to use taxpayer money to build up their arsenals.
3. Keep on the offensive. So what that the US Supreme Court overturned 70 years of precedent and held that the Second Amendment confers a right to buy and own weapons?
Since when are we powerless in the face of Supreme Court decisions? The "pro-life" movement doesn't think so. Let's take a page from their book. If your state legislature feels strongly about gun control, enact a tough gun ban anyway, and let the NRA spend money challenging it in court. If it's overturned, appeal. Then enact the same law again. Keep doing it until the Supremes get the message.
4. Attack the real problem. If the Second Amendment is going to put every citizen at the mercy of extremists and nuts every time they go to school or go to the mall, the Second Amendment is the problem. It can be repealed, and if nothing else will work, it should be. I feel bad for sportsmen who would have to establish eligibility to own the one or two hunting rifles they'd like to own, but their hobby can't take precedence over the lives of thousands of Americans who die each year for no good reason. The Brits got rid of fox hunting; we can get rid of guns and confiscate the ones that are here now.
5. Go after the NRA. Although they are tax exempt, they get to engage in lobbying thanks to an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code. It's time to close this loophole and end taxpayer subsidies for what has become a political adjunct of domestic terrorism.
6. Presidential leadership. Yes, Democrats are afraid of being blasted by Fox News every time they speak out on guns, but it's time to stop being afraid. When a tragedy like the Aurora shootings takes place, the President should treat it like a natural disaster and visit the scene to see the victims for himself. Bonus points if he can persuade Justice Scalia to join him.