Senator Shumer laments the polarized, unproductive debates over gun control reform that have taken place, and seeks to shift the conversation away from the rhetoric of the extremes in order to find a productive middle ground.
“The gun debate of the past two decades,” Shumer writes, “has devolved into a permanent tug-of-war between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and advocates of gun safety….The result is a failure to find any consensus, even as one mass shootingafter another underscores the need for sensible reform.”
Shumer finds his sought-after “middle ground on gun limits” in the 2008 Supreme Court decision in D.C. vs. Heller, which “told the two sides that they were each only half-right: The right to bear arms is constitutionally guaranteed, but reasonable limitations are allowed.”
The way forward, Shumer suggests, is for gun control reformers to reject the radical extremes that, on the one hand, calls for the complete elimination of private gun ownership (the Heller case declared this unconstitutional), and, on the other hand, rejects any and all restrictions on private gun ownership (the Heller case allows for some restrictions).
Senator Shumer’s comments are a helpful addition to the conversation that has taken place in the wake of the Newtown shootings. It is encouraging to see one of our nation’s leaders taking an informed, mediating position on the issue that seeks to bring both sides of the debate together to find workable and effective solutions.
Shumer’s mediating tone and approach needs to be embraced and applied in addressing not only gun control reform, but school safety procedures, mental health care, societal glorification of violence in movies, television and video games, and other issues pertinent to this most recent tragedy.
The full-text of Sen. Shumer’s op-ed can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-schumer-after-newtown-pursue-a-middle-ground-on-gun-limits/2012/12/19/69e36a98-4964-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html