Standing Our Common Ground On Gun Control

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The issue of mass shootings in the USA seems to have polarized into the easy answers of banning guns or having absolutely no limits on guns. I see both as being flawed.

The idea of no limits is terrifying. Despite all of my qualifications in the army and in my civilian life, if I had an unauthorized assault rifle in Israel, I could face seven years in prison. While shopping in a New Hampshire Walmart, I could buy an assault rifle as easily as a coffee. 

Also, as of this week, there were 27 school shootings in the USA in 2022.  The last school mass shooting in Israel was in 2008. I know we are a much smaller country, but we’re also a war zone. Clearly, the USA does have a problem. 

I also found the US approach to security incredibly lax. In Israel, we had armed security guards in front of schools, malls, and most public places. Here in New York, I’ve walked into buildings with high-ranking US officials inside without even opening my bag. 

However, banning guns won’t work either. There is no way to tell how many illegal guns exist in the USA, including ghost guns which are made from parts at home, and the advent of 3-D printing is only going to make the problem worse. The criminals won’t obey the law, so how can I ethically advocate against law-abiding people having weapons to protect themselves? When you bring a knife to a gunfight, you die. In Israel, highly trained armed citizens are our first lines of defense like Yitzhak Dadon and David Shapira who neutralized the terrorist in the mass shooting of 2008 discussed earlier. Without them, far more than eight students would have been murdered. 

Therefore, we need a multi-faceted approach. A few suggestions to start with:  

  1. Promote responsible gun ownership. In Israel, gun safety is a part of the national conversation. Children knew to never touch our older siblings’ army-issued rifles. In the army, gun safety is a top priority, and any deviations are heavily punished. We also have strict laws on who can own a weapon and what kinds of weapons are available for civilian use. We need similar conversations here in the US, including more research about what types of weapons are most dangerous since the majority of shootings are done by handguns, but the most deadly ones are done by rifles. We also need conversations on how to increase security, such as better gun safes and smart guns which only fire with a code or handprint. 
  2.  Pass strong federal laws that mandate heavy jail sentences for those who supply illegal guns to criminals, as well as for the transport of guns across state lines and illegal possession. 
  3. Mandate gun dealer reform and tracking registries so we know who owns guns, as well as mandatory background checks. 
  4. Invest in intelligence as well as mental health training. Statistics show that most school shooters are suicidal and want to go out in a blaze of glory. Many leave messages warning about their plans. We need the intelligence to recognize threats and mental health treatment to help them before they go off the edge. 

This is only the start of a very long conversation, with a lot more details, research, and discussion needed, as well as the will to implement multiple simultaneous solutions, working together from many angles. 

It’s not as easy as a pat answer, but a lot more effective. 

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