After the tragic mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, it is easy to despair of any real movement on the heavily politicized issue of guns in the United States. But Bernie Sanders cut through some of the noise in late August, 2015, on "Meet the Press" when he set the record straight on what he thinks needs to be done about gun control in the United States. "As a nation, we can't keep screaming at each other," he said. "We've got to find common ground."
Common ground for Sanders on gun control means:
- Universal instant background checks. No one should have a gun who has a criminal record, has been involved in domestic violence, or who is likely unstable.
- Certain types of guns used exclusively to kill people, not for hunting, should not be sold in the United States.
"Coming from a rural state I think I can communicate with folks from urban states where guns mean very different things," Sanders said. "We don't have to yell at each other."
No question, gun control regulation in the United States remains a hot potato for most lawmakers, but there's some evidence that Senator Sanders is right that there is room to communicate broadly about the need to regulate guns. For one thing, gun ownership dropped rather dramatically in the U.S. since the 1970s.
Also, some believe that the invincibility of the gun lobby is overstated, and that a close look at recent votes on gun laws reveals growing support for gun control, and resistance to the National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists.
No doubt, we won't see any immediate about-face on gun control in response to our most recent devastating mass murder of students and teachers in Oregon, but maybe Bernie Sanders is right that we can get past the yelling to common ground. Here's the video of Sanders on "Meet the Press":