No more middle-ground on guns

Law School Graduation #1 Bar Admission Ceremonies Day

Almost forty years ago, on the day I was sworn in as a member of the California State Bar, I already knew that I would likely never practice law. I possessed a critical flaw for an attorney: I could comprehend and argue both sides of an issue—as successful attorneys must—but my tendency was to immediately seek the middle ground; to pursue what I perceived as just and fair.

For more years than I can recall that personality trait has influenced my stance on gun control. Although I found little rationale to justify our current laws and have readily argued for change, I could sympathize with arguments supported by reasonable interpretations of the Second Amendment.

The accumulation of ever-intensifying gun violence has made it more and more difficult to rationalize current permissive national law, which has become less and less supportable by legal precedent or the Constitution and more the product of successful National Rifle Association lobbying.

Reading an op/ed piece in Sunday’s LA Times [Five arguments against gun control (and why the are all wrong),, p A21], finally pushed me over the edge. I highly recommend it to anyone questioning whether we should continue to allow continued legal ownership or possession of automatic or semi-automatic rifles (or, for that matter, handguns).

On this issue, I’m done with the middle ground.

America is really the only nation that is orderly with an almost unchallengeable state, and yet has a gun-death rate similar to much poorer Latin American nations experiencing low-grade civil wars and disorder.
Yes, many of our firearm-related deaths are suicides. But our firearm-related homicide rate is noticeably higher than every comparable industrialized nation. And furthermore, there seems to be a strong correlation between reduced access to firearms and a reduced rate of suicide.

~Michael Brendan Dougherty
(Robert VerBruggen, Do Guns Cause Violence. The MarkUp, Real Clear Policy, August 27, 2015,


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