The second amendment of the Constitution protects the right of private citizens to own firearms, and that right shall not be infringed without due process of law. Contrary to liberals' insistence that guns are the problem, conservatives recognize that the fundamental issue is one of personal responsibility. Only when individuals demonstrate violent or blatantly irresponsible firearm behavior, determined through appropriate criminal justice due process procedures, may gun ownership be restricted.
To effectively discuss prevention, it is important to have an accurate understanding of the causes of firearm-related violence. Unfortunately, when tragedies occur, Republicans jump to the assumption that perpetrators likely experienced some form of mental illness. Certainly, the mental health care system in this country is broken and needs attention, but as a psychologist, I know that the vast majority of mental ill individuals are not violent nor do most violent individuals exhibit a mental disorder. Republican talking points on this issue only serve to further stigmatize mental illness while doing nothing to prevent firearm-related violence. Instead, we need to focus on identifying individuals convicted of domestic violence, aggravated assault and other violent crimes and prohibit their ownership of firearms. As conservatives, we emphasize the role of personal responsibility in the gun debate. Violent individuals have shown themselves to be irresponsible and, correspondingly, should be the target of our efforts to prevent firearm-related violence.