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Possible Gun Control Solutions

Bans, buybacks, screenings, and targeted economic uplift; gun control solutions are hiding in plain sight.

America's epidemic of gun violence is easily solved. There are plenty of gun control solutions and the public is hungry to see those solutions implemented. The problem is that there are too many politicians who benefit from the status quo and the various legal and psychological machinations that keep those politicians in power. 

But we can vote them out! Shine a light on them and they'll scurry away like cockroaches. And if you think it's offensive to call politicians cockroaches, consider how offensive it is to do nothing about gun violence. 

Less Guns

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people." With guns! Guns are built for killing. If they're not, then why do you have one for self-defense? Or for hunting? The New York Times ran a study of what all countries with a lot of mass shootings (3 or more shootings) have in common. You know what they found? A lot of guns! The United States leads the pack because it has the most guns. 

The less guns, the less violence. Gun control solutions entail instituting bans, closing loopholes that make it easy to buy guns, universal background checks, and greater access to mental health care. 

Many people confuse gun control with losing Second Amendment rights, but a mandatory buyback program can work wonders. Australia had mandatory buy backs in 1996 and 2003. In 1996, the Aussie government bought 660,959 fire arms, and Australia has not had a massacre since 1996. 

Systemic Racism

America was founded on White Supremacy. The US's white population continues to benefit from systemic racism. A privileged political class rakes in profits and maintains power thanks to a prison industrial complex that's tantamount to modern day slavery. The March for Our Lives is forcing America to have a conversation about guns, but we also need to have a conversation about race. 

Destructive images of America's Black, Hispanic, Arab, Muslim, and  immigrant populations cultivate fear. Organizations like the NRA and politicians like Donald Trump use dog whistle messaging or overt bigotry to maintain control. No wonder gun sales go up after every massacre!

A conversation needs to happen because it's this very fear, disdain, and indifference that drives gun sales, emboldens homegrown far-right extremism, perpetuates policies that keep people of color disproportionately economically disadvantaged, and informs police brutality against young men of color. 

There should be implicit bias training in schools, police departments, businesses, etc. Treating bigotry like the social ill that it is will go a long way to instituting gun control solutions. And if you're wondering how we could get Americans to all talk about one thing at once, just remember how much time we waste talking about Trump.

Toxic Masculinity

Controlling, domineering, and overly self-reliant; toxic masculinity is as much an ideology as it is a constellation of personality traits. The ideal of the toxic male is in full command of his emotions, the alpha in any room he walks into, and depends on no one but himself. 

In reality, the toxic male is driven by a learned, nurtured aggression that dehumanizes others to the point of caricature, bracketing them from moral consideration and making them into little more than a means to an end. Any undertaking with a toxic male presence is poisoned. 

You can't implement gun control solutions without addressing the people who are primarily responsible for shootings: men. We can begin by speaking to young boys about the sort of men they can grow into, and in doing so cultivate a more robust emotional life for all men. The same tactic would decrease the prevalence of sexual harassment and misconduct as well. 

Domestic Violence

The conversation about gun control solutions has to include taking domestic violence seriously. In addition to being a crime in and of itself, domestic abuse is a strong predictor of future abuse. The advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, for example, ascertained that 54% of mass shooters between 2009 and 2016—those who killed more than four people—had a history of violence against their domestic partners. 

Police Brutality

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration quietly ended the federal government's death during arrest census begun by the Obama administration in 2016 (its first and only year of activity). Now we'll have to rely on The Guardian's The Counted project or The Washington's Post's Fatal Force to find out how many people are killed as a result of police brutality. One of the most obvious gun control solutions is for police officers to not always carry guns.

As observed by Gawker, carrying a gun is escalating the amount of force at a police officer's disposal very quickly! Instead, police officers should learn de-escalation techniques, which have proven to be effective. And we could have more female police officers, who are better at de-escalation. Learning conflict resolution is in everyone's best interest. Also, officers should be armed with non-lethal weapons. 

Lastly, as reported in the Huffington Post Highline piece "Super Predators," many police departments fail to adequately address domestic abuse committed by its officers. Police departments could begin to treat domestic violence as the offense that it truly is to reduce the prevalence of brutality and gun violence.

Vote and Run for Office

Gun control is everybody's issue. If you want your gun control solutions passed you need to vote out all the politicians who stand against regulation and even run against them yourself! This will allow us to craft sensible gun laws. What makes this challenging is that Republicans in particular have drawn many voting districts to favor Republican candidates. This process is known as gerrymandering. 

Additionally, many rural areas with prisons have undue influence because inmates count toward the population but do not get a vote. The increased population translates into greater political representation. And since rural areas tend to skew Republican, this further entrenches politicians who stand against sensible gun regulations. 

Luckily, many courts nationwide are now deeming gerrymandered districts unconstitutional. Holding a local office makes a big difference. People are very excited to meet candidates as their canvas door to door, especially if they're accompanied by a local official. As they say, "The people united, can never be defeated!" 

Curbing Far-Right Extremism

In America, homegrown domestic terrorism is a majority white male endeavor.  Under the Trump administration, these groups are not taken seriously despite their ranks outnumbering terrorists who adhere to far-right Islam. 

Unfortunately, the mainstreaming of Islamophobia in the wake of 9/11, made painfully apparent in the age of Trump, means that Neo-Nazis, the KKK, White Nationalists, and other groups are permitted to swell in size. One possible solution to gun control would be to treat these groups as the credible threats that they are. 

In 2017, The Intercept made it known that the FBI had been studying the white supremacist infiltration of police departments. These extremists had been joining the ranks of officers for the purpose of clandestinely advancing their agenda, warning groups about investigations, and learning skills that can be taught to other white supremacists. Yet, like the issue of domestic abuse, police departments have been slow to respond to another harbinger of brutality to come.

When the defense department learned that they had been suffering from white supremacist infiltration, they instituted a strict screening process. They were able to reduce the presence of white supremacists in the military. Police departments can do the same. In general, police departments offer a microcosm of America's gun violence problem. Police brutality only remains an issue because there aren't enough willing parties to fix it. The same is true of gun violence.

Arm Teachers

Aside from gun control solutions that are actual good ideas there's a bunch of bad ideas too. Chief among them is arming teachers. This is a solution offered up by people who have put zero effort into thinking about what it actually entails to confront an active shooter. A random gun owner is more likely to make things worse than anything else.

Not only would teachers be unprepared, they'd also confuse police officers. And without racial bias training, there is a big risk that teachers would draw their weapons on young men of color, just like police officers do. 

The idea of arming teachers is ignorant of the fact that a mass shooting is a shooting that injures or kills a minimum of four people. Arming teachers would prevent a scant number of deaths at best. There's a lot of shootings daily; massacres are more rare although, unfortunately, not rare enough. 

Amend the Constitution

One possible gun control solution is to amend the United States' Constitution's 2nd Amendment to more effectively regulate guns. Two thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate may propose an amendment or there can be a constitutional convention initiated by 2/3 of State legislatures. So far, none of the 27 amendments to the constitution were the result of the convention.

If one actually fears an oppressive government that demands a militia then instituting a policy that arms police officers with non-lethal weapons and rescinding Trump's policy of arming officers with surplus military gear is a step in the right direction. As is greater government transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, too many militias exist as far-right extremists groups. 

Targeted Economic Uplift

One of the possible gun control solutions is to rescind the decades-old rule that keeps the Center for Disease Control from conducting research on the relationship between gun ownership and gun violence. That way policymakers would be able to make more informed decisions. This would absolutely require an intersectional analysis that takes economics, race, and sex into consideration.

Black people in America are more likely than white people to die as a result of gun violence, even more so if they reside in urban areas. More particularly, this applies to young black men.  This dynamic is an expression of the white supremacy at the foundation of America. How? Because the system is built to keep black men in a disadvantaged position. 

It's in states where the income gap between white and black Americans is greatest that black Americans suffer from greater gun violence. A set of policies designed to provide economic uplift would go a long way to curbing these needless deaths. 

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