Each time our country experiences an act of gun violence, such as occurred recently in Charleston, S.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn., we hear talk of gun control for a while. But usually nothing happens, because no one knows exactly what to do in order to prevent the violence. Gun control, more stringent background checks and so on is not the answer.
The world is inundated with guns, and they are not going away. According to Small Arms Survey, a “global centre of excellence” in Geneva, Switzerland, there are an estimated 875 million small arms in circulation worldwide, produced by more than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries. The U.S. is the leader in gun ownership, with more than 310 million owned. Civilians, nonmilitary or law enforcement own approximately 75 percent of small firearms. Gun manufacturers produced roughly 8.3 million firearms for sale in the U.S. in 2012, a record and up 33 percent from the 6.2 million produced for American customers in 2011.
Based on these numbers, we need a new and more comprehensive approach to combating gun violence. We should make it much easier for law-abiding people to carry a weapon, either concealed or open carry, and we should encourage them to do so if they are so inclined. Those who wish to carry should be required to obtain a firearms carry permit. Such a permit would, of course, require a background check. The extent of any harassment for open carry would be limited to requiring that person to show a permit.
And store owners who put up “No firearms permitted” signs should be encouraged to modify the signs to read, “No firearms permitted, except for law enforcement and carry permit holders.”
With nearly 20 candidates in the Republican presidential field, the primaries will be about trying to out-conservative and out-right-wing-evangelical each other. That in itself will be entertaining. But when a candidate is chosen by the party, the game changes completely. The candidate who won the “most conservative” contest will now have to try to appeal to a broader audience. The candidate’s anti-everything policy will be thrown in his face.
What about issues such as climate change, gay rights, abortion, black and Latino voters, the minimum wage, safety-net programs, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, renewable energy, gun control, immigration reform, Obamacare, discrimination via religion and the middle class versus the wealthy and corporations? The Republican candidate can’t talk about the Republican accomplishments, as there are none — just obstructionist policies.
He can’t talk about his vision for America, as that vision only includes the wealthy and corporations. He might try to talk about his vision for the middle class, but it will be the first time, as Republicans have ignored the middle class since Ronald Reagan. The candidate will try to smear Hillary Clinton. That’s the only game they have.
In the debates between the two candidates, the Republican candidate can’t choose the questions, the moderator or the location. Republicans aren’t comfortable in an environment where they can’t control all aspects.
James DeHaven’s article on parking tickets and fine collections was spot-on until roughly halfway through, when he brought in Ferguson, Mo., and the Michael Brown issue, as if somehow that was germane (“Lawsuit targets Las Vegas court collection practices,” July 13 Review-Journal). The article mentions the black man shot by the white police officer, but never mentions the fact that all investigations, including one by the Department of Justice, cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.
The only purpose of including anything about Ferguson, Mo., in this article was to inflame. I am surprised that the editors didn’t catch that ugly paragraph. Surely the R-J doesn’t share that view, does it?