It's a vast understatement to say that the U.S. is at a political impasse when it comes to gun violence in this country. And like all good impasses, the reasons for it are multiplying rather than shrinking every day. But it boils down to a very old and stubborn argument. Pro-gun control forces insist on new laws and bans to stop gun violence while their opponents say those new laws and bans will only end up punishing and endangering the law-abiding gun owners or would-be gun owners in this country. Politically, this has been an unbridgeable divide for going on 40 years in this country. And no amount of sit-ins, NRA rallies, mass shootings, accidental shootings, or incidents where armed citizens stopped crimes in their tracks are going to break it.
The crux of the problem revolves around legislation. As long as Democrats insist that new gun laws and bans are the only way to stop or slow gun violence, the Republicans and most of the American people will stand in their way - unless they rush to pass new gun laws and bans within 2-3 weeks of major mass shootings. The reasons are many, but one of the biggest problems with the new legislation approach is the fact that gun violence is mostly committed in urban areas by people in demographic groups and living in geographical locations that a large segment of the American people believe are heavily connected to the Democratic Party. As "Dilbert" creator and blogger Scott Adams wrote last week, that leaves many non-Democrats who own guns looking at newly proposed gun laws by Democrats as essentially saying to them: "put down your guns… so we can shoot you." This approach simply isn't going to work.
But here's the funny thing, in a tragically laughable way of course: we already know how to reduce gun violence and gun crimes because we've already done it many times before. That's right, we actually solved the issue of rising gun violence in America in the mid-1990's and again in the early 2000's by doing something really radical. We enforced the law.
Now Republicans often get off too easy with their base voters by talking the talk about enforcing existing gun laws and leaving it at that. While it's technically true that there are already enough gun laws on the books to put the hammer down on gun violence, most Republicans know all too well that law enforcement all over the country needs a lot more funding and other tools to enforce those laws better. And that became clear during both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations when new funding programs to cut down on gun violence were instituted and they worked.