Rational Gun Management


I’m fresh from another Facebook exchange with 2nd Amendment “defenders.” Their standard litany: “Gun regulations: will crooks comply?” and “There is NO WAY to keep criminals from obtaining guns! Therefore gun control measures serve only to DISARM the LAW-ABIDING!” 

The gun control litany is, owners of deadly weapons should get trained AND licensed.  I prefer to say “gun management,” not control.  With 393 million guns in America (incl. 15 million assault rifles), we’re not going to control them now.  We have to manage their owners.

Nearly 65% of Americans, and more than 75% of gun owners support universal background checks, & sometimes more (red flag, safe storage, etc.).  If we subtract 75% of gun owners from 100%, that leaves 25% or fewer gun owners who radically defend the 2nd Amendment. 

So, why does our 65% gun management majority act like a shivering elephant cornered by a screaming, <25% pro-gun mouse?  Who is that elephant, anyway?  It’s the insurance, medical, healthcare, property management, hospitality, retail, entertainment, construction, and funeral industries, plus law enforcement, governments, and faith based organizations.  That’s a lot of industries harmed by guns.  It’s time the elephant pulled itself together and squashed the mouse.

As unruly children need structure, so do unruly adults – and markets.  Regulated markets operate equitably, unregulated markets don’t.  The gun industry and its supporters are barely regulated, and they’re protected from lawsuits and liability.  Unregulated market participants are basically pirates.  The gun pirates are depriving us of our Constitutionally-granted rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Let’s transform these unruly folk into law-abiding citizens.

Since our government is slow to act, and our faith communities have only moral-ethical, not regulatory authority, we must turn to businesses.  They act faster, and this is a business issue. 

Example: the 2017 Las Vegas concert shooting (what happened in Vegas didn’t stay there):

  • insurers paid for everything from wrongful death, injury & health care claims (some still running), to repairing the Mandalay Bay and concert venue,
  • concert organizers had to refund ticket fees, and increase security spending,
  • all Las Vegas hotels and LV Strip tourist attractions lost business,
  • Nevada state paid L&I claims; tourist agencies (funded by NV businesses) paid crisis, emergency & image management costs to mitigate damages,
  • The City of Las Vegas spent massive amounts on medical response, law enforcement and coroners, and have had to increase those expenditures
  • local hospitals incurred massive emergency & long term medical costs,
  • the funeral industry mopped up.

That’s a lot of business “firepower” vs. the ≤ 25%-ers.  Let’s work backwards from the murdered:

  • The funeral industry could say gun victims aren’t the dead they want to handle.  It’s blood money.  What will the NRA say? “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!”?
  • The news media:  they already condemn gun violence, and some international news organizations have declared the U.S. a virtual war zone for their staffs.
  • Insurers:  do they want to continue paying massive claims?  And it’s more likely for a gun accident to occur in a gun-owning home than in a non-gun one.  Why are the low-risk gun-less people paying higher premiums?  Higher risk gun owners should pay more.
  • The medical establishment is already on board calling for broader gun regulation, and for treating gun violence a national, public health crisis.
  • Entertainment, hospitality, travel & tourism, property management: demand regulation to keep ticket buyers, show attendees, tourists, shoppers, visitors and residents confident they’ll be safe in their own homes, cities and country.
  • Retailers:  like Walmart, restrict buyer ages, & limit firearm types & ammo for purchase.

Consider:  the NRA is anti-economical.  When it discounts school shootings – killing youngsters who’ll grow up to pay into pension, healthcare and retirement systems that will keep the NRA’s members comfortable in their old ages – it’s helping kill the geese who’ll lay their golden eggs.

And governments:  at least fly flags at half-mast nationwide for 30 days after a mass shooting, to honor the dead and remind America these are national tragedies.  Then, work to assign costs of gun mayhem to manufacturers & perpetrators, and to eliminate liability protections.  And when≤ 25%-ers occupy federal lands, stop cowering and go arrest them.  That’s your federal job.

It’s fine to support the 2nd Amendment; keep guns for hunting, target shooting, collecting, and for personal defense (although statistics say your less safe packing than running and hiding).  If the ≤ 25%-ers & NRA were smart in the face of gun-caused carnage, they’d quit screaming “hands off my guns!-no regulations-thoughts & prayers-the killer was crazy!”  Because that’s what makes the 65% want to regulate guns, and keep everybody from ever buying or owning one.

Submitted by Martin Westerman