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Solving the gun problem

"We need to harden schools." "The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." "We need to arm teachers.” “You can’t legislate against evil.” “The awful mental health issues out there.””It’s too soon after (insert latest mass shooting location here)."

Just shut up.

The problem is guns. We don’t live in the only nation on earth afflicted by people who are evil or suffering from mental illness. We do live in the only nation that allows – even invites – such people to purchase military-grade weapons, body armor and unlimited stockpiles of ammunition.

Harden every school? This proposal is not just absurd, it is traumatizing to our children. Locked doors, metal detectors, armed guards, armed teachers (who, by the way, stand no chance against an AR-15-toting assailant in body armor) is terrifying to our children and is a coward’s answer to the problem. When a drunk driver injures or kills someone we don’t propose “hardening” every vehicle with armor plating. We take away the driver’s right to operate a vehicle, even if it means taking away their car.

Too soon? Is it still too soon to talk about Columbine (1999)? How about Sandy Hook (2012)? Parkland (2018)? Or any of the thousands of mass shootings we’ve suffered through since the assault weapons ban was allowed to lapse.

It’s okay. We get it. Our elected leaders picked a side, and they chose campaign cash over children. Since they have proven they are too self-serving to do their jobs, let’s put good-old-fashioned American capitalism to work: make them pay to play.

Follow the example of Texas, which gave citizens the right to sue anyone who helps a woman terminate her pregnancy. Let’s apply that to gun sales and encourage citizens to sue anyone who helped another person purchase a gun that was used in a crime.

We prevailed over the tobacco industry when we sued them for creating a product that kills people. Let’s go after gun manufacturers the same way.

Insurance companies should apply the same risk calculations for gun ownership that they do for everything else. Demand that gun owners purchase a rider for the well-documented added risk posed by owning a firearm.

The industry has nothing to fear from our “leadership,” but they may start paying attention when their wallets are as empty as their promises.

Cary Gersh

Bloomfield Hills


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