Reflections on Gun Violence

By Peter A. Remender, Ph. D.

Sociology Department

 1. No solution is perfect, we will not eliminate violence. A reasonable goal is harm reduction. The test of any proposed solution is whether it will “increase the peace,” reduce the number of people killed or injured.

 2. While guns don’t kill people, guns can enable people to kill or hurt others more efficiently. Only a fool brings a “knife to a gun fight”? While one can kill with a knife or a baseball bat, most of us would like our chances of surviving an attack by someone less well armed. We call this the actuarial approach – considering risk factors. Assault weapons and high capacity clips facilitate killing—increase the carnage.

 3. The leader ship of the National Rifle Association promotes an agenda favoring the interests of gun sales profiteers not the views of the majority of its membership. Most NRA members favor “responsible” gun safety measures. Define reasonable.

 4. More restrictive gun laws do not violate the Second Amendment. Some propaganda employs irrational fears that folks will lose one’s Second Amendment Rights. It is my understanding that one is not entitled to a machine gun. The lack of a machine gun ought not concern sports-folk like deer hunters. So much for the slippery-slope argument. Second amendment rights will not be violated by “reasonable” restrictions on assault weapons. Or semi-automatic weapons or multiple-capacity clips. We need to exchange ideas about where we should draw the line. Lines have been drawn in the past. Be part of the solution – lets us argue (non-violently) and see if we can reach consensus. Legal norms can be product of collective deliberation (the essence of democracy?).

 5. None of these thoughts are original but I am solely responsible for my word choices. While I think these remarks are consistent with our knowledge of the subject, I do not claim to speak for sociology or by virtue of my position as a faculty member. Can we find a way to decrease the slaughter of innocent children and adults? That responsibility could be yours, should you choose to accept it. Reasonable limits= a true pro-life (pro-family) agenda?

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