Gun control debate

In this photo taken Feb. 21, 2018, at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee, 17 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lie on the floor in silence and pray at the approximate time of the shooting that occurred at their school one week prior. They were there to pressure lawmakers on gun control reform. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Maybe so. But for total, bat-crap crazy? You need Facebook.

Because only an insane person would go on social media expecting a productive discussion on an emotional topic.

I just spent the better part of a week banging my head against that virtual wall on the gun-control debate. I made the rookie mistake of thinking my “friends” wanted to have healthy, meaningful conversations about stemming the tide of gun violence in this country.

My bad.

Here’s the thing: Most Americans want something done about gun violence. We just can’t agree on what that something is.

RELATED: NRA accuses gun-control advocates of exploiting Florida shooting

Fortunately, you Standard-Examiner readers have me. And I’m here to once-and-for-all solve your sticky gun-control debate with a commonsense approach that I really can’t believe someone didn’t come up with years ago.

Well, maybe somebody did, but that kind of news doesn’t usually travel beyond the secure walls of our mental institutions.

I suggested another fix for the gun-control debate a couple of years back, but everyone and their mothers (including, ironically, my own) called or wrote to tell me what a perfect moron I am. That original solution emerged from an interesting tendency I noticed on social media — most of the people who were arguing against abortions were arguing for guns. And the people who supported abortion rights were against gun rights.

RELATED: Abortion and guns, even an idiot can see the answer

So at the time, I suggested we kill two birds with one stone, linking a woman’s reproductive rights with the right to keep and bear arms. In other words, we instruct our lawmakers to pass legislation to make both abortions and guns either perfectly legal or totally illegal.

It’s the ultimate compromise. By tying the two issues together politically, everybody gets something important and everybody loses something equally important.

To my surprise, virtually no one went for that solution.

So here’s my next pitch:

Currently, we’re at loggerheads over the gun-control debate, right? Americans are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the issue of the Second Amendment and what the founding fathers were getting at with their poorly worded law: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

On one hand, the National Rifle Association and every gun-totin’ yahoo out there has been saying the answer to reducing gun deaths is more guns. Sure, it sounds crazy — kinda like the answer to solving the obesity epidemic is more cake and ice cream — but stay with me here. Because the other extreme view comes from these snowflake liberals who believe the answer to a safer America is to take away everyone’s Constitutionally protected right to protect themselves.

Well, why not test the two theories?

Seriously. After all, the American system of government has been called “The Great Experiment.” We should so don the lab coats on this one.

We could try each side’s approach for six months, then objectively analyze the data and come to an all-or-nothing conclusion that we agree to live with going forward.

Now, since we’ve already basically got guns coming out of our ears here in the U.S., it would probably be easiest to start with the “Hey! Let’s arm everyone” approach. For the next six months, every adult in America — at least those not currently incarcerated — must openly carry a loaded firearm. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, insurance agents, stay-at-home moms, liberal journalists. Everybody.

What could possibly go wrong, amiright?

At the end of six months, we crunch the numbers. Did gun deaths go up? Did school shootings go down? Are there any married men left alive in America?

If indeed we’ve seen a dramatic drop in gun-related fatalities, we have our answer. The NRA was right, and a gun in everyone’s hand becomes the law of the land.

However …

If we see a dramatic increase in gun deaths, we then test the opposite hypothesis. We quickly gather up all the guns in America and lock them safely away for six months. No more target shooting. No more hunting. And certainly no more of what I, personally, consider the most dangerous sport in the world — the biathlon. (You think running with scissors is ill-advised ...)

If gun deaths subsequently drop, we have our answer and the Third Amendment abruptly gets a well-deserved promotion to Second Amendment. The other 24 Amendments move up one spot as well.

Either way, we’ve settled the firearms debate once and for all, and everybody on Facebook goes back to arguing about more important stuff — like who’s the worst president ever, Obama or Trump.

Now, about that pesky abortion issue …

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at

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