A new approach to combating gun violence

GunsICYMI, New York Times contributor, Prof. Gary Gutting of Notre Dame University has a thought-provoking piece that’s worth your time. In it, he suggests that an important key to fighting gun violence involves convincing people they don’t need guns rather than trying to regulate them:

“It’s one thing to be horrified at gun violence. It’s something else to see it as a meaningful threat to your own existence. Our periodic shock at mass shootings and gang wars has little effect on our gun culture because most people don’t see guns as a particular threat to them. This is why opposition to gun violence has lacked the intense personal commitment of those who see guns as essential to their safety — or even their self-identity.

I’m not suggesting that opponents of gun violence abandon political action. We need to make it harder to buy guns (through background checks, waiting periods, etc.) both for those with criminal intentions and for law-abiding citizens who have no real need. But on the most basic level, much of our deadly violence occurs because we so often have guns readily available. Their mere presence makes suicide, domestic violence and accidents more likely. The fewer people with guns at hand, the less gun violence.

It’s easier to get people to see that they don’t want something than that they don’t have a right to it. Focusing on the need rather than the right to own a gun, many may well conclude that for them a gun is more a danger than a protection. Those fewer guns will make for a safer country.”

The added beauty of such an approach is that, in addition to avoiding the necessity of nasty political fights, it makes all of the hostile comments from the noisy minority of gun fetishists (e.g. the ones we usually get here from hostiles on the Pulse) completely irrelevant. Now, there’s a promising idea worth considering!

Read the entire essay by clicking here.



  1. Jim Wiseman

    December 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    When criminals are convinced they don’t need guns, I’ll give up mine. Wait, no I won’t.

  2. Alan

    December 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm


    You’re perfectly entitled to keep your guns, and contrary to some of the wacko comments of the right, Obama isn’t taking anybody’s guns away from them, nor is he asking you to give them up. Sensible legislation that closes the gun-show loophole for example are all necessary, but have no affect on law abiding gun owners. The biggest enemy legitimate gun owners have is the NRA, an organization that masquerades as a protector of the 2nd amendment, but whose every action is to protect the interest of gun and ammunition manufacturers.

  3. Ted

    December 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Oh, you “Speech fetishists” what with your publishing on the internet. You don’t need the internet. You need only a printing press.

  4. SC

    December 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Alan, We keep hearing they aren’t going to take our guns, yet the opposite of that keeps happening. See recent events in NYC specifically and NY state as a whole along with San Francisco specifically and CA as a whole. The government s actively taking people’s firearms, and not just of those that should not have them because they are criminals. They are taking them from honest, mentally stable citizens because certain firearms that were legally owned previously have now been banned. So you’ll have to excuse us if we don’t believe you. As to the gun show loophole, this is another myth. the vast majority of sellers at guns hows are licensed dealers. every sale they make involves a federal NICS check. Attendees may bring along a rifle or shotgun that they want to sell, sling it over their shoulder with a sign and sell that firearm to another attendee in certain states legally without that NICS check. Those transactions are minimal compared to regular dealer traffic. As to the NRA, I’m going to be conservative (surprise!) but from my recollection, I’ll estimate more than half of their revenues are from membership dues.I’m pretty sure they are a not for profit so their federal form 990 (tax return) is publicly available, but I could be mistaken. The remainder comes from donations and the “evil gun manufacturers and retailers” however a good portion of the revenues from gun retailers come from “round up” donations. when a customer places an order they can elect to round up the purchase to the nearest dollar or more, and that “round up” is donated to the NRA. So those huge donations are really coming from the gun community.

  5. getfreight

    December 13, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Actually, there are no loopholes. All Federal Firearms License holders (professional gun sellers) do background checks at gun shows, on armslist.con, etc….

    There is no “sensible” legislation at this point. It has been legislated, however, it has not been enforced.

    Many of the proposed laws do affect law abiding gun owners. That is the issue. There has been no compromise from those calling for gun control.

    Then, the NRA comment is incorrect. While many of their positions are not mine, the majority of their donations come from citizens. There is a separate organization for manufacturers and dealers. It is all laid out in the records they disclose by law.

    Gun control is not an answer for any of our issues. Guns are not a root cause issue in violence nor the escalation of violence. It is solely caused by those who choose violence to solve the problems they perceive. The people who make the choice to use violence are the issue. The root cause is found in their mind. Not in an object. Dealing with the real issue is more difficult than trying to legislate. But is the only solution.

    Historically, all attempts at gun control have been to subjugate. Even in this country, gun control laws were formulated as a means to subjugate minorities. At the time, they were sponsored by groups who wanted to control elements of the population. Given this, the best indicator of future action is past action. And regardless of what is said to the contrary, this is the facts. After all government has been so trustworthy and truthful how could we not blindly believe that all their intentions are benign and will continue to be forever.

  6. BHirsh

    December 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Yo, Mr. “Progressive”.

    Square pegs don’t fit into round holes.

    See, that’s your (pl) problem. For some reason unbeknownst to the rest of us, you just don’t get that.

  7. TexTopCat

    December 13, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Sensible would be to look at the existing gun restrictions and remove everyone that can not be shown to reduce criminal violence. Start with silly “Criminal Protection Zones” around schools and NICS background checks.
    If a person is so dangerous that they can not be trusted with a gun they should have a “special relationship” with police and police should have the responsibility to protect them. (e.g. have a keeper responsible). Otherwise, police have no duty to protect (SCOTUS ruling), so the individual is the only person with the responsibility to provide protection and has the duty to choose the tools they need. (training and hardware)

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