Reader Opinion: The gun culture 

Gun Rights

A reference was made to our “gun culture” In a March 19 letter that alleges threats to due process on gun ownership rights. My response is that due process is as much or more threatened for those of us who want adequate protection against getting shot.

Gun culture is part of the problem. A definition of “culture” is a set of values that a group of people agree on. The author is correct in asserting the gun issue is more than having defined ownership rights and restrictions. The letter’s timing in the middle of a major public health crisis displays gun cultural priorities.

The coronavirus pandemic should remind us that the U.S. had no surgeon general when the ebola pandemic threat erupted because Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Obama’s nomination for that post, had once stated that gun violence should be treated as a public health issue. Strong NRA lobbying had successfully prevented congressional approval for over a year until the epidemic forced it. Culture dictated that gun rights were more important than all public health.

U.S. gun culture promotes a sense of power that spills over into politicking in other issues for the public common good. “Public,” of course, means government, which is bad. Dr. Murthy supported Obamacare, probably the main reason President Trump replaced him before his term was up. This anti-government cultural ideology helped slow a domestic response to the coronavirus risk.

One of the proposals before the Minnesota Legislature again this year is a “red flag” law. Such a law would allow families with a mentally impaired relative to have all guns removed from that person’s property. In this case again, gun rights advocates stand against public health that many medical organizations advocate. Due process in promoting public health is threatened by the gun culture.

Dick Peterson


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