My Fellow Conservatives: We Should Support the New Bipartisan Gun Deal | Opinion
A bipartisan group of 20 United States senators—10 Republicans and 10 Democrats—has announced that they’ve reached a « breakthrough agreement on gun violence. » Lawmakers have faced enormous pressure to act in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 21 dead, 19 of them children. And it looks like for the first time in 30 years, they have delivered on this front. The agreement, which was announced Sunday, includes enhanced background checks for gun buyers under 21, funding for red-flag laws, and a provision barring domestic abusers from buying guns, as well as billions of dollars for mental health resources and safety measures at schools.
The press is already calling this a compromise. But it’s more accurate to say that there is something here for everyone.
If you’ve been paying attention to conservative media since the Uvalde shooting, you will have heard calls for mental health services and for hardening our schools, while the Left has been braying for gun control, including anything from raising the age of purchasing a firearm to 21 to a full on ban on assault rifles.
The new agreement does not raise the age to purchase a firearm, nor does it restrict magazine capacity. But for those on the Left who wanted gun control, the agreement provides for « major funding to help states pass and implement crisis intervention orders (red flag laws) that will allow law enforcement to temporarily take dangerous weapons away from people who pose a danger to others or themselves, » according to Senator Chris Murphy, one of the leaders of the effort.
Rather than squealing that they’re coming for our guns, conservatives should support this measure. After all, the average American gun owner should not want someone running around making gun ownership look dangerous. Red flag laws, if properly enforced, help everybody.
The agreement also proposes to close the « boyfriend loophole, » meaning that a person convicted of spousal abuse will be barred from buying a gun. This, too, is an important provision. Consider that the fact that every month, an average of 57 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. Preventing abusive spouses from purchasing guns is something conservatives should be able to get behind.
Meanwhile, the agreement provides for what should be a top priority: securing our schools. For years, private schools and religious organizations have attempted to receive grants from the Department of Homeland Security to harden their facilities—often in vain, even after spending thousands of dollars in studies and evaluations. If passed, the new agreement will make funds for security more widely available.
« We shouldn’t have to harden schools! It will feel like a prison! » some will cry. Yet these same people have no complaints when they go through metal detectors at sports stadiums and concert venues, most of which did not have security until after the 9/11 attacks. Even airport security, a frustrating hassle, has been an accepted fact of life since 1972, when they were put in place in response to airplane hijackings.
We should have the same standard for all American children, and this new agreement will finally make this possible.
The new gun safety deal is not everything Republicans wanted, but then again, it’s not everything the Democrats wanted. And therein lies its beauty.
That doesn’t mean it’s toothless; there is enough here to ensure that lives will be saved if this agreement is made into law.
This is the first time I have been optimistic that the parties are working to solve the problem, rather than composing focus-group-tested legislation that targets law-abiding citizens while ignoring laws that would directly target criminal behavior.
As Murphy himself wrote, « Will this bill do everything we need to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic? No. But it’s real, meaningful progress. And it breaks a 30-year log jam, demonstrating that Democrats and Republicans can work together in a way that truly saves lives. »
Amen to that. Americans across the political spectrum should support this bill, and rejoice that bipartisanship isn’t dead.
Ari is the host of The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI and the West Coast Editor of The Post Millennial. Originally from New York, he now lives with his family in Seattle, WA.
The views in this article are the writer’s own.