Shawn VanDiver, 10/30/2014 [Archive]

Lawmakers, Have Some Courage on Gun Control

By Shawn VanDiver

The gun rights debate in our country is stale.The exhaustingly predictable cycle of mass shooting, recycled talking points from all sides, proposed legislation, insider lobbying, stagnation, and loss of public interest has been repeated far too many times in recent memory.Today, I am calling on lawmakers to have some damn courage.

If you feel, like the fringe gun lobby does, that my 6 year-old son's life is less important than your right to own whatever firearm and ammunition you want, then say that.Don't hide behind meaningless rhetoric or claim you're ready for action only to back off when the NRA comes knocking.That being said, if you believe—along with a clear majority of Americans of both parties—that modest regulation of weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing humans seems reasonable, that's a pretty easy public position to take.

And before you jump to assumptions, know that I'm no hippie. As a former weapons instructor in the U.S. Navy, I own guns myself—and I want to keep them. However, I believe that our society is overflowing with lethal weapons and that we must take action to prevent more dead kids.This week alone, there have been two shooting incidents to make the news in North America (and countless more that didn't make the news). When will it be enough to actually do something? Who has the courage to do the right thing—money from special interest groups be damned?

I'll make it easy for lawmakers.Here's the first step, common sense reform for what we need to do, at the state level, to maintain our constitutional right to bear arms while arming ourselves with the tools to be safer in public.

Licensing, to be renewed every five years with full background checks and mental health screenings, is the first step.Adding a check box to a driver's license and another form would make this easy to implement.To pay for the form and website modifications, as well as the background and mental health screenings, we can add a modest tax to ammunition sales (think five to ten cents per round—a manageable amount).My driver's license tells folks that I am a donor; it could very easily also indicate whether or not I am a gun owner or authorized to carry concealed firearms.

Before you tell me how I am violating your rights by proposing a record of gun owners, note that the constitution does not say that you have the right to bear arms and not tell anyone.We regulate chemicals, elevators, airplanes, and financial transactions—and none of those are specifically designed to kill anyone.

My hometown city charter calls out public safety as the number one priority; many politicians around the country say the same thing, and I'd like to see them put their money where their mouths are.The question is pretty simple: do your lawmakers have the courage to protect you?

Call your state senators, your assembly members, your mayors, and your city councils.Tell them that you want to protect your kids.You want to protect your communities. Hell, you want to protect yourself.Tell them that, with the stroke of a pen, they can improve safety for their constituents and side with the clear majority of Americans.

And if they try to run you around or brush you off, remember to ask them if they think the right to own as many firearms as one wants without anyone else knowing about it is more important than the lives of America's children—including yours and theirs.

——-

Copyright 2014 Shawn VanDiver, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Shawn VanDiver is a 12-year Navy veteran and a member of the Truman National Security Project's Defense Council. Follow VanDiver on Twitter @shawnjvandiver.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

Download Shawn VanDiver's color photo - Download Shawn VanDiver's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Shawn VanDiver's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Target Gun Ban COLOR
By: Steve Sack

July 2, 2014

Target Gun Ban
By: Steve Sack

July 2, 2014

 Lib  Gun Violence COLOR
By: Adam Zyglis

June 13, 2014

 Lib  Gun Violence
By: Adam Zyglis

June 13, 2014

Open carry thumbsucker BW
By: John Cole

June 12, 2014

Open carry thumbsucker COLOR
By: John Cole

June 12, 2014

James Brady moment of silence BW
By: John Cole

August 8, 2014

James Brady moment of silence COLOR
By: John Cole

August 8, 2014

Ebummer color
By: Bill Day

October 28, 2014

Ebummer
By: Bill Day

October 28, 2014

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]