Sam Harris's 'Riddle of the Gun'
On his blog, Sam Harris has posted a powerful commentary on guns. His position is not readily pigeon-holed as pro or anti gun, but rather he concedes certain realities and necessities with his customary rationality, logic and clarity. I find myself not always comfortable with his conclusions and positions, but I am nevertheless in essentially complete agreement.
I've chosen one paragraph from his commentary which seems to me right to the point:
"We could do many things to ensure that only fully vetted people could get a licensed firearm. The fact that 40 percent of all guns in the U.S. are legally purchased from private sellers without background checks on the buyers (the so-called “gun show loophole”) is terrifying. Getting a gun license could be made as difficult as getting a license to fly an airplane, requiring dozens of hours of training. I would certainly be happy to see policy changes like this. In that respect, I support much stricter gun laws. But I am under no illusions that such restrictions would make it difficult for bad people to acquire guns illegally. Given the level of violence in our society, the ubiquity of guns, and the fact that our penitentiaries function like graduate schools for violent criminals, I think sane, law-abiding people should have access to guns. In that respect, I support the rights of gun owners."
Better screening, background checks and training. But many perfectly decent sane people will still feel a need to own guns. I think I can live with that.