America's gun-culture problem

In the weeks since the deadly school shooting that killed 17 students and teachers in Parkland, Florida, it really has seemed as if American voters might finally start punishing their elected officials for inaction on legislation that might make such incidents less likely or less frequent.

Those same elected officials, of course, such as Florida’s own Senator Marco Rubio, have been quick to point out defensively that there is no one legislative fix that could both respect the Constitution’s Second Amendment protections and also keep firearms out of the hands of the people who might use them to murder their fellow citizens.

These elected officials are as correct as they are ridiculous: Countless others have already pointed out that on no other policy issue would Americans accept such excuses for inaction. There’s no single fail-safe legislative fix for terrorism, for example, that respects constitutional rights, yet an elected official would be laughed out of office for suggesting the kind of policy fatalism that infects the political debate on firearms. The same goes for health care, or climate change, or any other issue that demands a series of legislative changes before the needle begins moving in a new direction.