Finding common ground on gun issue

To the Editor:

The entire issue of “guns” and “gun control” desperately needs a reset to free us from the emotion-laden charge/counter-charge that makes it impossible to find common ground.

Why don’t we change the tone by embracing all of the 2nd amendment? While it is awkwardly worded — A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed — it clearly links the right of “the people” to own guns to the collective “security of a free state.”

Why can we not recognize how this larger good of the community is central to the 2nd Amendment’s granting of gun ownership? How might this potentially change the conversation?

The “militias” referenced in the 2nd amendment no longer exist, as we now have local, state and national law enforcement organizations that did not exist in the 18th century. Nonetheless, it is clear that they are challenged in ensuring the safety of large gatherings of citizens, including our children in schools. What if we invited local gun owners to a conversation with their fellow citizens to discuss how, in today’s world, they could contribute to enhancing the safety of their fellow citizens? What modern civic groupings could we form that, in close cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, would represent a pool of weapons-skilled and well-organized men and women available for providing additional security?

Most gun owners are good citizens and reasonable people; I suspect many of them would be more than willing to be of further service to the rest of us. In the process, we will also be expanding the common ground essential for finding other effective answers to curbing the plague of irresponsible gun usage. We desperately need to rediscover how much we all have in common.

Greg Cusack
Portland, Oregon

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