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February 6, 2013

Time to weigh costs of guns in society

The Daily Star

---- — All freedoms carry responsibilities, all actions consequences. It is well past time for thoughtful gun owners to address the responsibilities and consequences that accompany our right to bear arms. True, gun violence is at root a “people,” not a “tool” problem. But the easier it is for a criminal; someone suffering from extreme paranoia, delusions or depression; or people who are angry, jealous, intoxicated or just careless to lay their hand on a gun, the more likely it is to play a role in a tragedy. 

What can we do to reduce that likelihood? We have already agreed that there should be limits on the kinds of arms in the hands of civilians. Given the incredible lethality of some modern weapons, isn’t it time to revisit those restrictions? 

We have already agreed to some controls on gun purchases. Isn’t it time to look again at the exceptions, loopholes and workarounds that frustrate sensible restrictions? Isn’t it time to thoroughly assess the price we all pay, or should pay, for the choice we have made to permit ready access to deadly weapons? 

Is the cost of the right to own guns to be borne by the loss of privacy for anyone who seeks treatment for a mental condition? How much are we already paying for the cost of homicide investigations and trials?

Just how much are we willing to tax ourselves to pay for the extra protection we want for ourselves and our children? And the price of freedom is not only to be reckoned in dollars. Are we forever going to have to tell people like the Newtown parents that the price of liberty was paid in the blood of their children? 

Duncan Smith