10 Questions I’d Like Answered About Mass Shootings and Guns

Another devastating mass shooting unfortunately brings the familiar cycle we’ve become all too comfortable with. The overwhelming sense of futility grows as we jump from one “worst mass shooting in US history” to the next. We seem incapable of even agreeing on the problem, let alone getting close to a solution. And so, likely only to make myself feel better, I shout into the void, these 10 questions on mass shootings and guns.

These are sincere questions I pose to try and better understand the perspective and argument of those I might disagree with. Perhaps someone — the NRA, Republican Members of Congress, or just anyone who might have a different perspective than I do — could provide answers. And should those on the other side have similar questions about my argument, I will certainly answer.

  1. What problem are we trying to solve? Can we agree that a mass shooting occurring every 9 out of 10 days is a problem? Is it a problem that there were 22,000 firearm suicides in 2015? Or do we concede as a country that these are just “the cost of freedom?” I have a list of issues related to guns I’d like to solve. What are yours?
  2. What SHOULD we do in response to the problem of mass gun violence? Maybe regulation of guns is not the answer, but if we agree that some people die unnecessarily from guns what should we do to to address the issue in ways that have proven effective?
  3. What do we do to stop gun suicides? By far, most gun deaths are suicides. And we know that the places with the most guns have the most gun suicides. What do we do to solve this problem?
  4. What evidence is there that more people with guns mean fewer gun deaths? We’ve heard ‘the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’ and other self-defense arguments, but what evidence is there that more guns = less gun deaths? Is it a question of the type of gun deaths we’ll allow? There seems to be plenty to suggest that more guns mean more gun deaths, but what am I missing?
  5. What is wrong with asking gun owners/users to be licensed? Is it problematic to ask that those seeking to buy, own and use guns be licensed similar to our requirements for those who want to buy, own and use a car?
  6. Does the 2nd amendment protect your right to own ANY firearm with zero restrictions? This would make the 2nd amendment the only absolute, and unregulated right enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Where is the justification for this in the Constitution or elsewhere?
  7. What is the justification for needing or wanting fully or semi automatic weapons? Is it just a question of restriction to the 2nd amendment right or is there some reason that these weapons — designed for mass killing — need to be accessible to the public?
  8. When is an appropriate time to discuss what we can do to prevent gun deaths? We are told there is a time and place to discuss gun control, but it is not now. When is it?
  9. Why is it inappropriate to discuss gun control in the wake of mass shootings? When other terror attacks occur we discuss why they happened and what (if anything) could be done to prevent them, why are these attacks different?
  10. Why is discussing what can be done to prevent mass gun deaths political? That we might disagree on an ideological level doesn’t make this an inherently political issue. It is a question of policy, certainly, but that is what politicians are elected to discuss. Why does the nature of this issue make it off limits for discussion?

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