Gun control discourse must eschew partisanship

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Last Friday, a gunman entered a school in Connecticut and murdered 26 people, 20 of whom were school children.

News of the Newtown shooting has been practically unavoidable since it happened Friday morning. The nature of the 24-hour news cycle has resulted in near-constant revelations — some incorrect — about the shooter, about his family and about the happenings of the day.

Initially, news organizations were feeding off of Twitter rumours and misreporting the facts of the case. In some, the shooter was 24 years old and carrying a large number of firearms; in others, 20, and he had a connection to the school.

As the facts of the case came to light, and reports were either confirmed correct or debunked, the whole affair took on an increasingly macabre vibe.

Compounding that feeling was the drawing in of political debates on gun control and — perhaps to a lesser extent — the discussion on mental health.

Those discussions need to be had, but a line needs to be drawn on when it is appropriate to have them.

And, frankly, raising the cry of “gun control now,” before the details of the case are even clarified by authorities, is inappropriate.

Much mockery has been made of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the general sense of entitlement that Americans have over their firearms, but few have pointed to the fallacy of making declarations that are clearly driven by equally political interests before even understanding the nature of the issue at hand.

There’s no denying that a discussion needs to be had about guns, but it has to be had when people are able to address the concerns with level heads.

That discussion can begin now, several days removed from the case, as the pertinent facts have come to light.

Politics and gun control are unavoidably entwined in the United States. Codifying the right to carry firearms in their Constitution is undeniably the reason for that.

But, sooner or later, both parties have to set aside their political interests and look at the real issues and impact of allowing citizens to freely carry firearms.

Until Americans can find a way to depoliticize the discussion and approach it from a bipartisan perspective, nothing effective will ever spring from discourse on gun control and more violent gun crimes will be committed.

That’s the truth, as inconvenient as it may be.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: National Rifle Association

Geographic location: Connecticut, United States

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