At a time when the American people are more noisily divided that ever before on a polarizing array of issues and causes, none of those issues is more divisive – or crying more for solutions – than the question of guns.
Every one of us, gun owners and control advocates alike, is horrified by the toll of gun violence in America, whether it’s mass shootings in churches and concert halls or the mindless, one-on-one violence in our neighborhoods.
As a nation, these tragedies have united us in shock and mourning, yet the first talk of solutions tears us apart. No one among us is willing to put aside our rock-ribbed, preloaded position on guns in order to sit down and find the common ground for solutions.
But such things can happen. I know that from past experience with 18 years in Congress and now in state government. Over those years, I’ve seen a number of seemingly unsolvable questions resolved by men and women of good will who were committed to respectfully hearing both sides of the debate. They admitted their differences, but focused instead on discovering those more narrow areas where both sides agreed. Narrow areas soon widened into common ground, and common ground became bridges that blossomed into workable and enduring solutions.