With respect to those who neither have nor want children, before I became a father, I didn’t appreciate the political potency of parental fear. There is a reason politicians invoke the safety of your children when proposing everything from asbestos regulations to wars: There is nothing you will not do to protect your kids. Your task as a citizen is determining your comfort level with the trade-offs—trade-offs that might, for instance, reasonably prioritize manifested threats (PDF) and scale down to hypothetical ones. People who responsibly own guns to protect their families, operating from the same motivation I am, have my instinctive understanding and I suspect are the most willing to look for reasonable gun control compromises.

In a fundamental way, parenting is about choosing and mitigating risks—weighing the potential for expanding a young mind against the prospect of experiencing emotional or physical harm. With years yet to go before my child enters school, there is no gun control I won’t support. Gun control opponents will argue this-or-that proposal won’t end the threat of gun violence, and point instead to cherished family traditions of safe, guided, hunting or target shooting. They may even, in any particular case, be right, because the NRA has succeeded in making gun confiscation beyond the realm of the politically imaginable. But I’m not looking for a panacea. If a gun control micro-measure can mitigate by even 1/64th the chance of my daughter being murdered in her school, I am for it.