How to Bring Gun Lovers and NRA Haters Together

We all agree on more than you think.

If you love hunting, either because you’ve been raised in a hunting family or because you’ve taken a liking to it later in life, I do not understand you, but I cannot, honestly, despise you. After all, many of us will wear the fur of an animal or eat the guts of an animal, but are too cowardly to kill the animal ourselves. Some of us even fancy company in bars where walls are the postmortem home of many halves of deer and buffalo.

If you love the Constitution in such a way that you interpret the Second Amendment as your personal right to bear arms, I do not fully agree with you, but I do not wish to convince you otherwise. In fact, I’d be mistaken; the Supreme Court has ruled, for the most part, in your favor.

If guns are your hobby, for whatever reasons you may claim, I might not take dessert with you, but I cannot fault you; some of us collect stamps and others collect coins. As such, we’d be an ambitious bunch to criticize you.

But please, let’s set aside all that for a brief moment, and sympathize with a tragedy that has fallen upon all of us—for, the misuse of guns (and by that, I mean the use of guns with ill intent), is just as much an affront on your values as it is on mine.

Let us keep at the forefront of our minds, the crisis, well underway in one of our most prized cities, Chicago. There, bullets have mowed down 228 of our fellow countrymen this year. In Afghanistan, during this same period of time, 144 of our brave soldiers have been fatally wounded. I too, am ashamed to hear that Chicago is more deadly than a country with whom we are at war. Just last month, in June, a stray bullet in this troubled city struck down a seven-year-old girl. Her name was Heaven.

Five short years ago, a student at one of our honorable universities, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, opened fire on his classmates. He killed 32 of them with his utter savagery. Last year in our great land, a noble leader who decided to dedicate her life to the cause of our democracy, was shot in the head while meeting with those she was voted to represent. Miraculously, she survived. But the same cannot be said for six others who were taken from us that Saturday.

I fear that such brutality has called into question, in your mind unfairly, your right to carry guns. And I think I speak for both of us when I say I fear for the lives of our fellow countrymen who’ve been needlessly taken from this earth.

So, as great men and women must do in trying times, I believe, together, we must rise to the challenge of our moment. We must agree, and I know we do, that the situation, as it stands now, is unacceptable. Remember, we are Americans. Let us be brave not only with the sword, but also with the mind.

To preserve your love of the barrel, to satisfy the well-intentioned, however dismissive, men and women who’ve sought to disarm you, and, of course, to heal the wounds of our bleeding cities, we would be judicious to curb our ideas of how we might appropriately and realistically move forward.

As a gun lover, you should call on your comrades to submit to extensive background checks before they purchase their next firearm. You should demand of them the psychological wherewithal and stability that you must recognize to be imperative for the handling of such powerful equipment. You should also declare that your comrades are not criminals or revenge-seekers—we would never want to see you face off with one of your fellow arm-bearers. Undoubtedly, you’re an ardent believer in the Constitution, and so, you regard the rule of law as superior to vigilante justice.

Please, too, urge, with conviction, your fellow gun lovers to limit their purchase of ammunition to that which is sufficient for self-defense. I’m aware that we need not labor over this point, as self-defense is one of your principal concerns. Implore your political representatives to enact effective laws against the brutes who intend to misuse their weapon by packing it full of military-sized magazines.

Likewise, I ask you to insist that your local leaders establish the means with which to keep record of purchased guns. I’m certain that you are a law-abiding citizen, who keeps a license plate on the back of your car. I’m equally certain that, when you proceed through airport security, you are not terribly incensed by having to take off your shoes. Indeed, you might feel inconvenienced by the latter and the former, but you agree that they are necessary inconveniences for the well-being of us all. You’d assist law enforcement in doing its job if you made it possible for your guns to be tracked.

And finally, please, I beg, keep your gun collection at home. It is dangerous, during these times, to carry a shotgun in the trunk of your car, or take an AK-47 outside of your hunting shed. Please demand that your comrades keep their hunting gear where it belongs, that they adhere to the hunting etiquette, of which you, yourself are so fond. I know that you understand that a humble Glock will be sufficient for self-defense, but please remind your fellow gun lovers of this. Allow your local representatives to pass laws on this point. You must agree that the government has a role in requiring certain conditions for public gun possession—as it already requires a concealed weapon permit, something for which you, of course, have applied and received.

If I’ve seemed at all dismissive, I apologize. If I’ve misrepresented your values or intentions, please correct me. We must come to some agreement on this matter, or our innocent children will continue to perish.