Silver Bullet

When I was younger, I used to watch The Lone Ranger on TV.  He rode a horse named silver and shot silver bullets with his six-gun.  He claimed he used silver bullets because they were not lethal.  That must have been true because I don’t remember him killing anyone.  I do remember him shooting the guns out of the hands of the bad guys.  He was a good shot and stood for truth, justice and the American Way.  Whoops, that was Superman, but the Lone Ranger was virtuous as well.  HI HO SILVER AWAAAAY!

Now a “silver bullet” has come to mean a simple solution to a problem.  After a raft of gun violence in the U.S. now everyone is looking for a silver bullet solution.  Problem is, not everyone agrees on the problem. Some say its mental health, video games, and the breakdown of the family.  Some say it is guns.  People are clamoring for their elected representatives to do something, but many are in the pocket of the NRA—being pressured to do nothing that would restrict access to guns.

While the debate rages, my thoughts on where to begin.  Universal background checks for gun purchases.  Check. Red flag laws restricting access to those deemed by the courts as a danger to themselves or others. Check.  Now on to the sticker issue, the implements themselves, guns.  Some want to ban assault style weapons, the AR-15 kind that fill the walls of gun dealers.  With 25 million guns already in circulation, and a million more manufactured every year, I doubt this would work.  I’m not clear on the attraction, but for whatever reason some people are attracted to a weapon that looks like one that a soldier would carry into war.  So, I don’t think it is the design of the gun that is the problem.  It is what that gun can do with high capacity magazines.  Why does someone need a magazine that carries a hundred rounds? Not to kill deer or scare off home invaders.  For those with hate in their hearts it gives them the ability to pick off dozens of innocents in shopping malls and playgrounds without reloading.  So, my idea, if not a silver bullet, is you can have any gun design you want as long as the magazine can’t hold more than six bullets.  I know, I know, killers can carry extra clips and reload, but I bet the carnage would be reduced while waiting for the SWAT team to arrive.

For those who holler that this would hinder my second amendment rights, get a life.  Even Justice Scalia in the Heller case noted that the government could impose sensible restrictions on weapons.  You can’t legally buy a bazooka or a machine gun. So, as we ride off into the sunset of the never-ending gun debate, let’s not look for a silver bullet, but instead put together several of them that would actually make us safer.

1 Comment

  1. Ah, the Lone Ranger was my favorite TV show. I’m not sure what so attracted me about it – perhaps the clear distinction between good and bad, the surety of the Lone Ranger and Tonto prevailing, or the way the Lone Ranger could rear up on Silver so dramatically.

    I’ve always loved Chris Rock’s take on how to deal with the gun issue – make ammunition incredibly expensive. There are too many weapons out there to think we could ever collect them all, but it would be easier to regulate bullets. He’s got a great routine about it that includes a guy telling someone “I’d shoot you now MoFo, but I can’t afford the bullets.” Sounds workable to me.


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