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Everyone with a heart for the well being of our friends and neighbors wants to find a solution to gun violence. The current proposals in Pennsylvania and beyond, however, are unrealistic.

“Common sense gun control” encompasses mandatory buyback programs, red flag laws, bans on assault weapons, magazine capacity limits, and ammunition purchasing caps. There are deep flaws in each of these, but more importantly, they are impossible to enforce. 

There are too many guns to seize them all. Mandatory buybacks are inefficient. Red flag laws do not stop individuals from getting weapons. Anyone can make a gun or bullets in the privacy of their own home.

We need to find a better solution to gun violence because guns are here, and they are here to stay. 

The policies in place now are failing as well: A mad man murdered twelve people in a government building 500 feet from two police stations. An armed school guard refused to protect students on his watchGun free zones continue to be soft targets. Police officers are under no legal obligation to protect you. We are living in a post-gun control world, but our media and our politicians seem unaware, or unwilling to discuss what that means in practice.

It sounds stale to state the fact that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The issue lies with the broken people who commit these senseless acts.

I call these acts senseless because they are the result of a false choice. Killers think there is no opportunity, because they are not being shown that there is a path forward. The solution to violence will not come from Harrisburg, or from Washington DC. It comes from strong communities where young men and women are shown the dignity of their own opportunity. Many young people are watching the filtered images of celebrity lifestyles, instead of paying attention to the greatness of their own potential. 

Diffusion of responsibility is a term to describe when a person shirks responsibility for their own actions by having others alongside them who shoulder the burden, or by placing the burden entirely on another’s shoulders. We as a people are shirking responsibility for what is happening in our backyard by asking politicians questions they cannot answer. Outsourcing care for our communities is weakening our understanding of actions and their outcomes.

We can no longer be spectators to our own communities. 

The question can no longer be: what is Harrisburg doing to combat violence in our communities? Instead ask: what am I doing to combat violence in my community? Am I building positive relationships outside the internet? Am I involved at the institutions at the bedrock of my community? When was the last time I was part of a Norman Rockwell type moment that benefited my community? Am I demonstrating to others that there is something to live for? Am I demonstrating the good in humanity to struggling young people?

It is unacceptable to say you are doing something by donating to a group that claims to be doing something. That is diffusing responsibility. It is unacceptable to claim that casting a vote is enough to prevent violence in the future. That is outsourcing care for our communities and is a diffusion of responsibility. Those behaviors are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Like most social woes, fixing violence in our communities requires taking on some personal responsibility to care for our neighbors. This is not a task that we can outsource to politicians. As government grows, politicians promise to make the bad things disappear. Their bad ideas become even worse when members of the community feel they now have license to look externally for answers. 

It is impossible to disarm the American people. Gun control is a fool’s errand designed by political elites who could never understand what happens in our neighborhoods. Bad ideas like those currently being considered in Harrisburg and Washington DC are ineffective but worse, they are divisive.

This is your community, and mine. Finding a solution to gun violence is a personal issue. It requires that we get personally involved in fixing it.

Categories: Opinion