It seems to me that the root of the problem is our gun culture. There is no way we are going to be able to divide people up into the good people who should be allowed or encouraged to own guns, and the bad people who should be discouraged or forbidden. It's not just that it is difficult to figure out who is good and who is bad; each of us is a complex evolving combination of good and bad elements. But again, this kind of variation opens the door to the possibility of steering the mix. I cannot imagine our gun culture evaporating over any small number of decades. But it is always changing. We can choose the sort of gun culture we want and take action to bring that about.
The constitutional objective of a well regulated militia points us along a viable path of responsible gun ownership. A gun is by design a lethal weapon. Gun owners need to be responsible users of lethal weapons. This clearly implies a level of training that is not trivial or elementary. Components of such a training regime could include:
- psychological tools for managing anger and depression
- dispute resolution
- non-lethal self-defense
- physical conditioning
- laws regarding gun usage
- target shooting
- gun cleaning
- gun storage and transport
Maintaining a permit to own guns could require regular continuing training and regular testing, e.g. a yearly course and a test every five years.
We can transform our gun culture from a national disgrace to a source of national pride. A culture of sober responsibility should spawn vastly fewer senseless mass killings.