Other Views: Violence requires sensible responseNorth Dakota has a well-developed, traditional gun culture based on hunting and protecting a family’s home and property.
By: The Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
North Dakota has a well-developed, traditional gun culture based on hunting and protecting a family’s home and property. It involves gun education and safety classes for hunters. More thorough background checks and bans on high-capacity magazines, as proposed by President Barack Obama, will not significantly change gun use in North Dakota. Nor will these proposals make communities safe from mass shootings such as the one in Newtown, Conn.
Much of what’s been proposed by the president will give people, at best, a false sense of security.
The most promising element of the president’s gun control response is the push for more research into mass killings and other health-related aspects of gun use. If the country understands the root causes of horrific gun violence, then it might be possible to address that cause rather than treat the symptoms, as has been proposed. Better solutions might be found in mental health policies or the prescription and use of anti-depressants — we do not know because we haven’t done the research.
No one condones the shooting deaths in Newtown, Conn., or New Town, N.D.
But such tragedy requires a sensible, effective response and not feel-good measures that call upon people to compromise what they believe to be their constitutional rights.
Nor will putting armed security people in schools, as has been suggested by the National Rifle Association, give blanket protection for students and teachers.
Mutually assured destruction worked to keep a Cold War balance between the United States and the Soviet Union, but arming citizens everywhere with the expectation that they might respond to the next mass shooter begs for more violence, not less.
North Dakotans understand guns pretty well. They can differentiate between guns for hunting or defense of one’s home, shotguns and hunting rifles, and the weapons of aggression and war, the domestic descendants of the M-16 and AK-47, semi-automatic and automatic weapons.
Most of the state’s citizens see little need for knockoffs of military rifles, but they understand clearly their right to “bear arms” under the Second Amendment.
Gun control isn’t a yes-or-no issue. We ban automatic weapons. We have regulations and permits for concealed weapons. Some places have gun free zones, usually schools and hospitals.
Gun control — that “well-regulated militia” — should come as a balance of safety, responsible action and the right to protect yourself, at all costs.
It represents a social and political balance.
That balance would be easier to discover if we knew more about the cause.