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A Year From Now

By Matt DeCristo

You’ll wish you had started today. It’s a great ethos to take with you in your life travels, and while the specific formula of dates can be altered or adjusted as needed, the outcome remains consistent. Start eating healthier today, and in six months, you will have shed that extra twenty pounds. Get to the gym today, and in three months you will start to see incredible results.

So while the political discourse in this country is anything but pleasant, and trending downward by the second, I’m going to apply my new favorite saying to the gun problems in the United States. 

Yes, people are always enraged in the immediate aftermath of a senseless shooting, but like a toddler, our collective conscious and cable news outlets are easily distracted by the latest tweets and stories about porn stars, treason, or the weather.

How quickly we can forget the Pulse Nightclub (49), Las Vegas (59) Stoneman Douglas High School (17), Sutherland Springs (26), Santa Fe (10) The Capital Gazette (5), Bakersfield (5) – and just last week, a Maryland Rite Aid (3). That’s 174 mass shooting fatalities in just over a year, and obviously not accounting for the everyday violence that sweeps across our nation like a witches broom, only to be quickly forgotten about as soon as the inevitable next tragedy strikes.

I’m not going to take sides in this article, but you certainly know the usual players in the political and cultural realm; pro-Second Amendment vs .Ban All Guns, or Let’s Have Sensible Restrictions vs You Can and Should be able to Buy an Aircraft Carrier, if you so choose. What’s equally consistent if not totally irritating is the debate that rages in the immediate aftermath of each and every shooting. We can probably agree mutually that praying for victims and banning specific weapons are equally useless for correcting the problem.

So the question beckons:  What legislation would you pass that would make the United States as safe as other industrialized nations when it comes to firearms?

We have some 300 million guns in this country, and even an all-out ban isn’t going to remedy that. The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, so it will take a systematic approach that involves a deep rooted change in philosophy. No one wants to hear that change takes time, and since no politician in today’s world can offer a plausible solution, I’ll offer one now that seems like a no-brainer, at least to me.

I hereby call for a 100-Years-Plan to reduce, and eventually eliminate the overabundance of guns in our country. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly agree that we need tougher laws. The problem is that with the amount of weapons already in circulation, tougher laws aren’t going to fix anything, really.

Hence, the 100-Years-Plan.

This will give us plenty of time to enact a number of key components. Firstly, a sensible repealing of the Second Amendment, since we can’t wrap our minds around its proper interpretation anyway. As long as owning a firearm is a constitutional right by birth, you won’t ever be able to limit people’s ability to own one, or one-hundred. It doesn’t matter if you are mentally unstable or plotting revenge at your high school. If we repeal the Second Amendment and make it a privilege and not a right to bear arms, we can require testing and training to purchase a weapon (think driving a car) and with that, a better understanding of who has what, and why they have it. 

This will also give companies like Remington Arms, Smith & Wesson, and Sturm, Ruger & Co, plenty of time to diversify their portfolios. Branch out into new markets. And still manufacture firearms for the military, police, and law abiding citizens for hunting, target practice, or self-defense, who demonstrate the responsibility to own them.

What’s perfect about the 100-Years-Plan is that no one alive today will be affected by it. To those that love guns, you won’t have to worry about them being taken away. Trust me, in 100 years, you won’t be using them anyway. This should eliminate the debate that ensues from those folks on that side of the argument every time a shooting occurs.

Some may argue that people 100 years from now won’t be inclined to follow our blueprint of now. Hogwash. The entire Second Amendment fan group blindly follows a constitution written 250 years ago. Think of it like this; had people in 1918 gotten a better handle on environmental concerns, we would be in a better place now.

So it’s time to start thinking about how we will leave the world to our decedents. We can bicker and squabble over rights and regulations, and I’m sure we will, until the next tragic event occurs. Then hit the reset button, and do it all over again. Or, we can step up and enact a long-term change, designed at fixing a grand scale issue the only way it can be corrected – with time.

The clock is ticking. The people of 2118 will be grateful that we did.

Matt DeCristo is a freelance writer, photographer, and film critic. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattdecristo. 

Utica Phoenix Staff
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