Reflect with me for a moment. We knew the children who were shot and killed in Nashville. And the adults. They are our neighbors.
We have seen 9-year-old children gleefully following their parents at school events or walking down the aisle in church or on the playground. And we know those late career professionals who have dedicated their lives to education. They are all a part of our community.
They all became targets of a deranged mind. While those in charge look for motives, we know warped minds don’t lend themselves to understandable motives. But what we do understand is the reckless availability of guns first designed for military use. Guns that in seconds can cause a school corridor to look like a battlefield.
Almost two years ago to this date I wrote a column on guns. Enumerable times since, I have started to put pen to paper on the issue of how we deal with guns but each time pulled back. It is not an easy subject. But I am drawn to the flame.
Let me begin illustratively with technology. It has increased gun lethality but it has not been used widely to increase protection. Biometric keys, passwords and the like personalize and protect our homes, cars, phones and more. Protective technology’s use in manufacturing and retrofitting of guns should become as ubiquitous.
But then there is the larger problem. Can citizens act or must all the action be shunted off to politicians who will engage once again in the theater of the absurd? And much of the political activity will occur on a State-by-State basis and the problem is national.
Any steps of consequence will not be taken swiftly and actions that lessen problems in the long run will not sate our immeasurable desire for quick results. So why not go long as I have suggested before. We need a nationwide campaign to amend the Second Amendment.
Women’s rights, for example, received a huge boost from a nationwide effort to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment failed but the drive made women’s rights topical and constructive actions followed. And, for those of us who were watching our draft status during the Vietnam War, we know that the momentum of the anti-war movement hurried our troops return.
Additions to the Constitution are difficult. If the Second Amendment is to be amended, the addition should be simple, clear, limited and broadly appealing. My suggestion, a second sentence that says: The possession and use of military weapons and their derivatives can be regulated.
Today there are many efforts to regulate gun possession but often gun ownership or use that doesn’t need to be regulated gets swept up in our zeal to regulate military-style weapons. A successful drive will recognize our nation’s history with guns used for lawful purposes.
It is beyond this brief essay to detail either constitutional or legal language to lessen the threat from guns being used by deranged or vengeful minds. We have, however, come to a point where the nationwide outrage should push lawmakers beyond their well-practiced talking points.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al writes on themes from his book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.