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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman: Let’s agree on some gun-rights ground rules

By Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman For The Spokesman-Review

For years, if not decades, the gun control lobby has been pleading with firearms owners to come together and find some “common ground” on gun control, and in so doing, they started with the wrong message and certainly the wrong sales pitch.

Instead, let’s find some common ground on gun rights.

For openers, can we agree that the Second Amendment should be treated with the same respect as the other amendments in the Bill of Rights? The Second Amendment is no less important than the First Amendment, or any of the other eight amendments in the Bill of Rights.

After all, we are not talking about guns, we’re talking about a constitutionally delineated fundamental right. It’s a right to keep and bear arms, not a heavily regulated government privilege, nor is it dependent upon service in a militia.

An oft-repeated demand from the gun control lobby is that we should license gun owners and register their guns, same as we do with automobiles. Can we agree that such licenses would be issued to any law-abiding citizen who wants one, and that they are automatically recognized by every other state without exception?

Can we agree that if we treat guns like cars, their owners should be able to take them to every state in the country?

In recent years, gun control groups have been self-identifying as “gun safety” organizations. Can we agree that gun safety needs to be part of the public school curriculum, then? Think of the accidents and tragedies that we could prevent by having qualified and certified firearms instructors teach these courses. After all, if it saves just one life, it will be worth the effort, right? It’s for the children.

Can both sides agree that if photo ID should not be required to vote, it should also not be required to exercise the rights protected by the Second Amendment?

Can we agree that no legislation or any regulation can disarm potential heroes? Armed private citizens have, as happened in Sutherland Springs, Texas, confronted dangerous criminals successfully. Why should we want to throw roadblocks in their way?

Can we please stop combining tragic suicide statistics with homicide data, and calling all of the lost souls “victims of gun violence”? This is misleading. Suicide is an emotional, mental health issue while homicide is a crime. Second Amendment advocates have taken the lead on both fronts, with a pilot suicide intervention and prevention effort in Washington state, and pushing programs like “three strikes” and “hard time for armed crime” on a local and national level.

Can’t we focus on suicide prevention and punishing criminals without penalizing honest Americans?

Alan Gottlieb is founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. Dave Workman is senior editor of

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