Column on gun owners was short on specifics

January 30, 2016

It was over two months ago that you published an issue of Forefront focused on gun violence.

It was a helpful edition of the magazine, and I appreciated the chance to read it.

While I found myself concurring with many of the arguments for increased gun regulation, I was especially appreciative of Mitch Roob’s exhortation that “Gun owners should step up to help solve gun violence.”

We are a nation that depends on the self-regulation of so many of our industries, and it seems helpful to encourage gun owners not simply to champion their rights, but also to take the lead in addressing the problems that go along with the easy access to guns in our society.

However, the one set of ideas Mr. Roob proposes—“stop glorifying gun violence in movies ... [and] teach our youth ways to resolve problems with words rather than guns, and seek additional services for those who suffer with mental illness”—seems rather hollow and off topic.

None of those are steps specifically within the reach of gun owners to accomplish.

The first is something Hollywood (not gun owners) needs to embrace; the second is something which has always been an emphasis in schools and churches (not necessarily the task of gun owners, as a class); and the third is already on the table, and is something gun owners seem to be calling for as an alternative to gun regulation, but not as something gun owners themselves can do anything about.

What if, instead, the NRA began to use its platform, not merely to lobby Congress for preserved Second Amendment rights, but to lobby its own membership?

What if the NRA was pressed to lead the way in developing a new culture of gun ownership ethics, with NRA-led shaming of the boisterous, irresponsible, and dangerous gun practices that give a bad name to the movement and feed the rising violence of our communities?

I love the direction Mr. Roob is pointing in the title of his article; I just wish that the body of the article actually offered some concrete recommendations to back it up.


Michael LeFebvre

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