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When It Comes to Gun Violence, Will the Two Sides Ever Agree?

Right now, there’s a debate going on in the Washington State legislature about a proposed law which would not only prohibit the sale of assault rifles but would also prohibit the transfer of currently owned assault guns from one person to another, basically sooner or later making Washington State completely free of such guns. You can read the bill’s text right here.

You don’t need to wade through 16 typed pages – just take my word for the fact that this law, if voted up, will certainly be signed by Governor Jay Inslee and that will be the end of that.

It goes without saying, of course, that the usual gaggle of gun ‘rights’ groups have joined with the usual gaggle of alt-right political groups to oppose this law, trotting out their usual bromides about how the statute would ‘unfairly target (no pun intended of course) lawful gun owners’ and do nothing to reduce gun violence in the state.

The head of a group called Conservative Ladies of Washington, claims that the bill is ‘politically motivated’ and would ‘infringe on 2nd-Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.’ At the same time, almost 90% of all ‘gun violence is caused by people who are possessing firearms illegally,’ says this conservative lady (her name is Julie Barrett) which means that the new law wouldn’t reduce gun violence at all.

What caught my eye about Ms. Barrett’s comment is how on the one hand, she feels compelled to pull the usual 2nd-Amendment rabbit out of the usual Constitutional hat, while on the other hand, adopting language which is never (read: never) used by the gun ‘rights’ gang at all.

I’m referring to the lady’s use of the term ‘gun violence,’ a term found in just about every narrative produced by Gun-control Nation but considered to be a linguistic phrase rated at the highest level of toxicity by all those freedom-loving Americans who know for a fact that armed, self-defense is America’s oldest and most cherished civil right.

That’s because in the gun-nut world, to link the word ‘gun’ to the word ‘violence’ is to violate the maxim found on the NRA’s favorite bumper sticker about how guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

On the other hand, what she’s saying about how most acts of gun violence are committed by individuals who use illegal guns also happens to be true, yet it’s a truism which rarely finds itself mentioned in the narratives of all those tree-hugging liberal groups lining up to support this new bill.

So, it occurs to me that maybe without realizing it, Julie Barrett has come up with a strategy which will finally begin to bridge the rhetorical gap between the two sides in the gun debate and possibly create the basis on which a rational and (God forbid) effective discussion about guns and gun violence might occur.

Going forward, let’s agree that Gun-nut Nation will begin to inject the phrase ‘gun violence’ into their narratives about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ and Gun-control Nation will begin to substitute the word ‘crime’ for the word ‘safety’ in their hallowed phrasing about guns.

Let me break something gently to my gun-control friends. Lecturing a gun owner about behaving in a safe way with his guns is to insult that gun owner to a degree that will render any discussion between the two sides totally and completely moot. Think that gun owners don’t know how dangerous their guns happen to be? Why do you think they bought the damn things in the first place, okay?

As for the idea that guns, not people, cause gun violence, is to create and promote a fantasy about the use of guns which cannot be sustained in the brains of anyone more than six years old.

The bottom line is that both sides in the gun debate need to stop using language whose only rationale is to create instant messaging used to raise funds whenever there’s a mass shooting or a new gun-control law, or both.

Which is what the gun debate has always been about – keeping your organization’s bank account full to bursting while the annual toll from shootings goes on and on.

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