Even though the Newtown shootings ignited a passion for stricter gun control, from everything I see and hear it's going to be very difficult to pass meaningful legislation to prevent another tragedy. With 310 million guns already in the homes of Americans and ammo too numerous to quantify, guaranteeing our safety may prove to be impossible.
Even if Congress passes a ban on the sale of assault weapons, what about the millions of guns already out there and the endless rounds of bullets stored in peoples' homes? Though I support any measure to limit gun sales, to enforce stricter licensing requirements and to raise the cost of ammunition, I fear that legislation alone is not the answer to this terrible predicament we're in.
And if we can't depend on national authorities to correct the mess they made, how about seeking a local solution? After the publication of the map of those with gun licenses in the Journal News, conversations have grown heated from those who fear for their safety and others who defend their right to own a gun and store it in their homes. Despite the fact that there has not been an armed robbery in town for years and it's been shown that a gun in the house is more likely to be used against family members than to protect them, some feel strongly that the Second Amendment gives them the right to bear arms.
So while we wait for Congress to debate how to keep us safe, how about making a symbolic statement here in town? Let's declare Scarsdale a gun-free zone and ask those who have guns in their homes to bring them to the police station to be stored for safekeeping. When they need their guns to shoot deer they can go to the station and take them out for a limited time. Just as we store our jewels in the safe deposit box at the bank, we can store our guns with the authorities to assure that they don't fall into the wrong hands.
Though we can't pass a law to require this, we can implement a public service campaign to encourage it. And hopefully peer pressure and the sense of community will inspire residents to store their guns at the Public Safety Building, rather than in their nightstands. I believe many would be proud to say they live in a community that doesn't accept guns as a way of life.
Grassroots movement such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Race to Nowhere – an anti-homework movement -- have been highly effective at getting the word out about their causes. Declaring Scarsdale a gun-free zone could send a message to neighboring communities and beyond, and begin to limit the risk that guns will be misappropriated by disturbed gunmen like Adam Lanza.
No, it's not the solution to the gun quandary, but it is a good place to start.