The reason we can't have a sane, adult discussion of how to cut down on random gun violence is simple: the NRA has hoodwinked gun owners.
The United States is not the only country to experience the horrors of
mass shootings. We are, however, the only society in which a serious
discussion of tighter gun controls doesn't follow incidents like the
massacres we've seen at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin or the movie
theater in Aurora. In fact, in most countries these kinds of tragedies
result in some kind of concrete legislative action.
The reason we can't have a sane, adult discussion of how to cut down
on random gun violence is simple: the NRA has hoodwinked a lot of
reasonable gun owners into believing that there's a debate in this
country over banning firearms altogether. We'll never be able to have a
serious discussion about how to cut down on gun violence until that
group accepts the actual terms of the debate. And the NRA has a vested
interest in making sure they remain obscure because the organization
represents gun manufacturers and a small, highly ideological minority of
gun-nuts, rather than (typically responsible) gun owners.
And that means that, at least in theory, there is political space for
a new kind of gun control advocacy – one that isn't about whether
Americans have a right to bear arms, but instead explicitly advocates safe and responsible gun ownership, a goal the polls tell us most gun owners would embrace.