Maybe it’s time to start using the words that the NRA has turned into unmentionables.
Fred Hiatt is the editorial page editor of The Post. He writes editorials for the newspaper and a biweekly column that appears on Mondays. He also contributes to the PostPartisan blog. View Archive
A gun-free society.
Let’s say that one again: A gun-free society.
Doesn’t it sound logical? Doesn’t it sound safe? Wouldn’t it make sense to learn from other developed nations, which believe that only the military and law enforcers, when necessary, should be armed — and which as a result lose far, far fewer innocent people than die every year in the United States?
Yes, even saying these words makes the NRA happy. It fuels the slippery-slope argument the gun lobby uses to oppose even the most modest, common-sense reforms. You see? Background checks today, confiscation tomorrow.
And yes, I understand how difficult it would be. This is a matter of changing the culture and norms of an entire society. It would take time.
But the incremental approach is not succeeding. It sets increasingly modest goals, increasingly polite goals: close a loophole here, restrict a particularly lethal weapon there. Talk about gun safety and public health. Say “reform,” not “control.”