What if we accepted that guns are ubiquitous in our culture, that the constitution and Supreme Court have both said owning guns is a right, and the arbitrary and subjective lines of “too much gun” is an irrelevant distinction for laws?
Currently we require cigarette companies to fund a certain amount of addiction treatment, public awareness campaigns and scientific studies on the effects of smoking. There is precedent for holding companies who sell in the U.S. responsible for mitigating negative effects of their products.
My idea: require gun safety, cleaning, repair and marksmanship classes in every high school. Instructors would be public union employees and the weapons and ammunition would be supplied by any weapon company that wished to sell or import into our country. These gun companies would also be responsible for funding security and control procedures for all stocks.
We would end up with a populace that is better prepared for a situation involving guns (the NRA should love this). We could have scenario training for advanced students that could lead to conceal carry permits. It would be funded by the people profiting from the industry, and would teach a healthy respect for firearms. For those who do not like the spread of guns in our culture, it would create a generation of kids who actually knew what holding one and firing would be like, and perhaps demonstrate to them that guns are real tools and not just things used in movies or by criminals and whack jobs with vigilante survivalist notions.
When the inevitable accidents, ‘shrinkage’ and misuse occur, we can use each as an example of the true impacts of gun culture and cease speculating about the effects of media, and have actual data. For an entire generation guns would be normal, boring, and a pain in the ass (care and feeding of a firearm is pretty tedious). As we know, anything associated with coursework is automatically offputing to most American students, using the same basic theory as childcare courses that require you to coddle a hyper-real infant poop device or learn how to drive a car for a year before they let you test your skills half-drunk from an underage party and trying to text your latest Instagrammed sepia-toned beer pong win to the people who couldn’t be there so they know you are cooler then they.
I believe the long term effects (as demonstrated by Switzerland for example) would be we would stop fetishizing guns, and the companies would be held responsible for the deleterious effects of their products.
There wouldn’t be more guns in the country, really. There would just be a greater spread, more education, and because a vast majority of fire arms would be limited function, low-calibre handguns (because schools would get the cheapest ones the profit-driven companies could get away with using) we may even drift away from GATs and Macs and Man-Barbie Accessory sets for your AR-15’s ‘furniture.’
Companies win because they get an early crack at a new gun toting generation (since criminals don’t buy their guns legally anyway and whack-jobs aren’t exactly the most wholesome spokesmen (looking at you, Ted Nugent).
Society wins because gun users are trained, self-aware, and less likely to be apathetic to the issue of violence. It also formalizes what up to now has been a vague American mythology about long hard objects that are clearly not a response to Puritan restraint.
The next generation wins because they will be able to defend themselves from the drug-addled criminals/government stooges who come bursting through their door leaving them no choice but to ‘water the Tree of Liberty’ if you catch my drift.
Our Government wins because it will be funded by the companies, so no new taxes, will create more teaching jobs, will increase funding to schools, and create a more informed public about a hot-button issue. It also protects our Constitution, which as we know is immutable and any revisiting of the basic principles is a slippery slope to Fascism/Socialism/Anarchy/Panda Apocalypse or whatever.
The only issue I haven’t quite worked out yet is about the massive numbers of suicides that would occur as teens gained more access to firearms. Not to get too Darwinist, but it’s a problem that might solve itself. We can always hope that if we make guns seem like homework, our hormone-juiced teens will be unwilling to spend precious time away from Twitter and Playstation just to do something that might be construed as ‘extra credit.’