There will never be any federal agency or watch list that can match the real-time collective intelligence that communities have about a young man in their midst who is steeped in toxic ideologies, indulging in fantasies of violence and getting hold of firearms. Alas, far from empowering these local leaders to act when they spot trouble—teachers, scoutmasters, pastors, police chiefs, shopkeepers, coaches—we have spent the past half century undermining their authority.
A little modesty could go a long way. On the left, few trust the ordinary American as much as they do the federal government, especially with guns. But on the right, Republican congressmen, senators and presidents calling for federal gun control ought to be pressed whether they really believe what they offer is a solution—or merely enough to quiet the “do something” chorus.
Do Something – Give Local Communities the Power to Act
Perhaps before Congress “does something,” we ought to let states and localities experiment with giving community leaders the ability to act—while also protecting due process and other constitutional rights. At the least those who insist the solutions are primarily federal ought to answer the most obvious question: Can you show us exactly how your measure would have prevented earlier shootings if it had been in place?
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