As a gun owner and a 2nd amendment advocate I am well aware of the battle going on in this state over the issue of gun rights. Particularly, the disconnect between the rural communities and urban centers regarding the issue of drug and gang related gun violence.
Up until this point in the debate over gun control the arguments have been dichotomous and confrontational between those arguing for less restriction and more liberty versus those arguing for more restriction and control of gun sales.
Gun owners and those that support less restrictive laws on gun ownership and the right to carry frame their argument based on Constitutional liberty and common sense but they stop short of offering real solutions to the ongoing epidemic of drug and gang related violence that plagues cities like Philadelphia. Conversely, the politicians from areas that have these problems assault the liberties of all citizens in this state without offering a workable solution to the problems they face. Meanwhile, lives continue to be cut short while the debate rages on between the two sides.
To find a lasting solution we must first look at the root of the problem. Most violent crime in population centers is drug related. The trafficking of illegal drugs by street gangs and criminals creates an environment where violence thrives and perpetuates the culture of violence among the poor neighborhoods where the idea of making a quick buck by becoming a drug dealer becomes enticing and due to the criminal nature of that activity often leads to turf wars and violent exchanges between rivals in the drug trade. Police resources are then spent fighting a war they will never win while things continue a downward spiral into more death and violence.
Further burdening our law enforcement is the prosecution of non-violent offenders who are caught buying or using illegal drugs. To try and combat the unending tide of drugs coming into our cities tough laws have been enacted to go after anyone and everyone involved in the illegal trafficking of drugs, but here we are in 2010 forty years after the War on Drugs began and our problems are worse, not better.
As someone who values their freedom I realize that I cannot turn a blind eye to the problem of urban gun violence. To end the assaults on our liberty we must reach out to the leaders in cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to help them solve this problem with rational thinking and an open mind.
My solution to the problem is to make people finally realize that drug prohibition simply does not work and is the root cause of the violence in our inner cities. If we decriminalize drug use and legalize some lesser drugs like Marijuana we will take the criminal element out of the drug trade. We can offer a viable alternative to turn a criminal enterprise into a legal, taxable business which creates jobs and brings in revenue for the cities and the state. At the same time, the resources being wasted arresting and prosecuting the non-violent drug users can be focused on the violent crime that deserves their attention. Money saved from stopping the war on drugs can be reinvested into the community and rehab programs to treat drug abuse rather than criminalize those who seek help with addiction problems. By doing this the violence created by prohibition will be replaced by a peaceful economic industry operating in the open free of the criminal element.
I would call on our state and local leaders to take an honest look at solving the problems in this state resulting from drug related gun violence in urban centers and put aside their differences to do what is right for gun owners and for our cities.
It is time to get off of our soap boxes and stop shouting about the Constitution and start working together for real solutions to the problems in cities like Philadelphia. We have to realize that if we want to preserve our liberties as gun owners we have to take an active part in helping to solve the problems related to gun violence.