We know that President Donald Trump says he has the safety of the America people in mind when he imposes travel bans from first seven then six predominantly Muslim countries. Both bans have been held up by the federal courts. Let us presume that Trump is serious about the safety of the American people. Thus, I offer this modest proposal.
Write an executive order and support legislation in Congress that would prohibit men from buying a gun until they are at least 65-years-old. Studies show that nearly 90 people in the United States die from gun violence every day God sends. Nearly 55 of those deaths are suicides. Women who live in households with a gun are more likely to be injured or killed by a gun, and children are often not only victims of accidental shootings by other children, but they are the shooters. In contrast, no one from countries who are subject to the travel ban have perpetrated terrorist attacks in the United States. We are killing ourselves.
I can hear the howls of “what about our second amendment rights?” echoing across the land. I say: “what about them?” We have a Congress, especially the United States Senate that does not give a hoot about the Constitution, especially if there is a president in the White House not of their party. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led his party in stealing a Supreme Court seat from a duly elected president who won with a majority of the popular vote as well a majority in the Electoral College, to make way for a pick by a president who did not win the popular vote. Never mind the Constitution.
Supreme Court Justice Scalia writing for the majority that said people have a constitutional right to bear arms apart from military service, read words into the text that were not there. So much for strict constructionism. Further, whenever there is a mass shooting pro-gun people say that the problem is not guns, rather we ought to think more carefully about treating mental health and keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental health issues. Since Trump has been president, the Republicans in Congress have made it easier for people with mental health issues to own guns, and their healthcare replacement plan would have dropped the requirement for insurance companies to cover mental health.
Again, my modest proposal is to pass a law that keeps guns out of the hands of men until they are 65 or older. Consider who most of the mass shooters in this country are – young white men. Think about gang violence and criminal violence. Men. It is not unreasonable to say that in the United States of America a man with a gun is a dangerous combination. This would include police officers.
Some police are so afraid of the people that they are sworn to serve and to protect that they will shoot and fatally would a 12-year-old child within seconds of an encounter. They shoot unarmed people regularly. I hear the howls: “Police need to be armed.” Perhaps not. If they were not armed they would have to learn other techniques for conflict resolution rather than shooting within seconds.
How would my modest proposal work? Even if we end the gun sales now, there are still millions of guns already in circulation. The answer: buyback programs. Pay people a thousand dollars for old weapons and ten times the going market rate for others. And where would we get this money? Gun manufacturers. It makes as much sense as the idea that Mexico will pay for a border wall. Not only ought we to get the money from gun manufacturers for the buyback programs, but we ought to send the medical and legal bills associated with gun violence straight to them. They have the money because they send billions of dollars of weapons all over the world to fight regional wars.
According to the Constitution that our lawmakers trash on the regular while they are speaking empty words of patriotic fidelity to it, the United States exists to promote the general welfare and to provide for the common defense among other things. The common defense that we need is against the reality that is in fact – not alternative facts– killing us. The travel ban solves a nonexistent problem while the real threat goes unaddressed.
My modest proposal would end this charade.
Valerie Elverton Dixon is founder of JustPeaceTheory.com and author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radial Love, and the Public Conversation.”