The horrible mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school prompted many people to rethink their beliefs on gun rights. On one side, folks say you’ll have to pry their guns out of their cold, dead hands. On the other side are those who frankly wouldn’t be caught dead with a gun. Those black-and-white, all-or-nothing positions aren’t the only two options though. Solutions, as often is the case, lie in the middle ground — somewhere between supporting completely unfettered gun ownership rights and not permitting anyone to buy or possess an arsenal of semi-automatic high volume weapons.
Those who use guns for sport have very specific weapons choices. Others who simply want to protect themselves will prefer a different kind of weapon. Some people collect guns as a hobby and have their eyes on weapons of a historic nature. The people who don’t have a specific stated purpose might be the ones who are more problematic.
In a world that seems to get more frightening by the day, many people just want a gun — or many guns — and think we all should be armed to the teeth. That just doesn’t make good sense.
The Emporia school district recently decided to arm its school resource officers with guns. While some might be comforted by that decision, no doubt, an equal amount of people are unsettled by that path.
That split in thinking, however, hasn’t been showing up on The Herald’s website, where readers lean heavily pro-gun. In a recent unscientific online Herald poll, we asked whether maps showing the identities and addresses of registered gun owners should be published. Less than 12 percent of respondents said such public information should be viewable to guarantee the public’s safety. The majority said the information shouldn’t be published because it was either a violation of the gun owner’s privacy or because it could identify homes without firearms, which could prove unsafe for those households.
Clearly most respondents didn’t want everyone else to know who does and who doesn’t own firearms. Newspaper readers of The Journal News in White Plains, N.Y., didn’t get to weigh in on this issue in advance. Instead, they are up in arms about the publication of that very information on local gun ownership — complete with an online map. Though this is public information, it wasn’t a solution most residents of that area agreed with — despite the town’s proximity to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed.
Bottom line, solutions change when someone has a gun pointing at them. Solutions about guns should be made with everyone at the table unarmed but ready to find common ground that is of the best interest of everyone. It shouldn’t be an us-versus-them showdown.
— Jeanny Sharp,
editor and publisher
editor and publisher