The gun control groups Giffords and March For Our Lives have announced a candidate forum in Las Vegas this October, just a day after the two-year anniversary of the attack on the Las Vegas Strip that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords says the forum offers Democrats running for president the opportunity to delve deeply into “gun reform”.
“If we’re serious about tackling the biggest problems facing our country, we need serious conversations about solutions,” she said in a statement.
David Hogg, a survivor of the last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and co-founder of March for Our Lives, said the groups want to see the candidates in Las Vegas discuss “bold and holistic plans” that tackle all aspects of gun violence, including suicides and other shootings that don’t receive as much attention as mass attacks.
So far, the “boldest” plan we’ve seen comes from former candidate Eric Swalwell, who called for the banning and compensated confiscation of 15-million legally possessed AR-15’s. Something tells me that’s not going to be holistic enough for David Hogg and his fellow gun control advocates. Federal gun licensing schemes, like the one suggested by Cory Booker, would also be “bold”, but it’s not really holistic either.
In fact, none of the gun control ideas offered up by the dozens of Democrats running for president are really “holistic”. They all focus almost exclusively on legal gun owners and gun sellers, ignoring the vast majority of violent crime committed by individuals who illegally possess and criminally misuse firearms. They view gun-related suicide as a gun control issue, not a mental health issue, and their idea for stemming gun-related suicides tends to rely on “red flag” laws that allow for the confiscation of firearms from someone deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others. Two of the biggest problems with the “red flag” laws proposed and passed around the country are a lack of due process for the accused, and a lack of mental health help for someone deemed to be a danger.
If gun control activists really want a serious conversation about their proposals, they should invite someone who disagrees with them to serve as one of the moderators. Otherwise, this forum promises to be just a gun control rally and not an event where policies are actually debated.
Of course, I don’t think the activists putting this forum together want a serious conversation at all. I suspect they want headlines and soundbites that call extreme gun control measures “common sense gun safety reform”, candidates to attack politicians who support the 2nd Amendment as “tools of the gun lobby”, and to push the argument that if you’re not in favor of any of the anti-gun laws being pushed, you must care more about your guns than the lives of children.
My calendar is open on October 2nd if these gun control activists want to prove me wrong. I’d be happy to help foster a serious conversation between candidates about their policies and how they would or would not impact violent crime, suicide, domestic violence, and the constitutional rights of American citizens.