In 16th-century France the Wars of Religion tore the nation apart for almost forty years. The atrocities committed make 21st-century terrorists look like Boy Scouts. King Henri IV finally restored peace (for a while) by addressing the real causes of the conflict: not religious doctrine, but economics and political power.
I was reminded of this today talking with a friend about the latest wave of gun homicides in the U.S. Those eager to prolong the status quo want you to think that this is an ideological disagreement about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, about the right of citizens to own guns.
Wrong. It’s about the profits of gun manufacturers and sellers. The ideological hysteria is stirred up by people who profit from it.
Remember when bar owners were held liable if they allowed customers to get drunk, and those customers subsequently got behind the wheel and caused accidents? The epidemic of drunk driving, seemingly insoluble, stopped. There are still drunk drivers, but not nearly so many.
The same approach could dramatically reduce gun violence in the U.S. Make it possible for victims and their families to sue gun makers and gun sellers whose guns are used in mass killings. Suddenly sellers will be much more careful about who they sell guns to, and manufacturers will change the kinds of guns they sell.
Follow the money.