The second amendment of the Bill of Rights does cause much controversy today. In modern American politics there are debates to abolish the second amendment, keep it unaltered, and to regulate it. The polarizing topic continues to divide the nation because the arguments are normally made by the extremist of the topic. The best steps to start making progress is by starting in the middle. When an individual sells a firearm to another individual in a private sale, there does not have to be background checks or registrations done. This can be problematic because the accountability of firearm ownership is threatened. One could propose a piece of legislation that would make all private gun transactions done at a private gun dealer. This would make the new firearm registered to the right person, and a background check could be done on the new buyer.
A study group comprised of myself and three others tried to tackle the matter of gun control. We found that the group was not as divided as intentionally thought it would be. When civilly discussed the different concerns from safety and personal freedom. The group agreed that we needed to start at a less controversial part of the argument. We said that those who buy firearms from private individuals, and not gun dealers, should have to register and fill out background as people who buy firearms from gun dealers do. This would hopefully have all firearms registered to the correct people. Even most people who are pro-gun would have no problem with registering their weapon. This is a great starting point to help combat gun violence in America.
Some observe the second amendment relatively literally. However, it is understandable that times have changed since 1791 (when the second amendment was written), and that some restrictions are necessary. Registering a weapon does not infringe the second amendment. All gun owners need to follow these guild lines because it ensures accountability. Everyone in the group agreed that the second amendment should stay. Everyone also agreed that all guns should be registered. Finding this common ground is what led to the compromise that was made.
The only problems to arise in the group was the first attempt at finding a compromise. The first suggestions were polarizing from both sides. Once the group starting to figure out aspects that were agreeable it was very easy to conclude to the legislation proposal that was made. This is how more Americans need to approach all controversy in politics. Arlie Hochschild writes about the “empathy walls” Americans create between each other. She describes these barriers as such, “An empathy wall is an obstacle to deep understanding of another person, one that can make is feel indifferent or even hostile to those who hold different beliefs or whose childhood is rooted in different circumstances.”  When debate over gun ownership, sales, or laws comes up it can become hostile very quick. It is important to Actually listen to the other side and understand their motives while they are speaking instead of waiting for them to finish just make a comeback.
Conversations in debates today resembles to how congressmembers speak on the floor of the House or Senate. They never seem to talk to one another on the floor but talk passed them as if they are speaking to their constituency directly. This does help America’s polarization problem. One cannot be unwilling to budge in debate because the whole point is come to the middle and not to push the two sides further away; however, this is the trend in modern American politics. When two people/groups with opposing views speak about gun rights now it seems both sides are regurgitating tag lines they have heard before instead committing to the conversation. The study group did not make this stumble, thankfully. The group did very well with trying to understand all the perspectives present before a collective effort was made to produce some sort of legislation. Predispositions were left at the door as the problem was unwound. This lead to healthy debate, and more importantly, a product or compromise.
No legislation on gun rights will appease everyone. It is one of the higher ranking hot topics in today’s political climate. Keeping the sanctity of everyone’s constitutional rights while also doing everything possible to ensure safety to all Americans is a difficult job. If more conversations were to take place, as this group did, then maybe the average citizen would not form these “empathy walls”. Stopping this practice will indeed assist peaceful debate in the future. Americans are facing difficult problems that need to be handled quickly before more are harmed. Putting aside a few differences and making attempts to find commonality is in the best interest for all Americans.
 Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 2016. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right.
“Bauer v Harris.” Bauer v. Harris: Defending $19 Fee Imposed on Firearm Sales in California, lawcenter.giffords.org/bauer-v-harris-defending-19-fee-imposed-on-firearm-sales-in-california/.
Great post. Polarization has made it difficult to have an honest debate with groups who may hold an opposing view. It is nice to hear that you were able to create a group of people who could come together and share their thoughts rather than regurgitate talking points. I agree, there is not enough accountability when it comes to the registering of firearms. The truth is that majority of individuals share the same sentiments when it comes to common sense gun laws. The divide that is created when these groups disperse and rejoin the bubble they are a part of. It is difficult to combat polarization unless there is frequent engagement across groups to slowly disperse myths one group may have of the other. You also do a great job in pointing out how there is also a literal interpretation of the second amendment.
The compromise you have outlined seems to be an issue that many people have. There is difficulty in coming to an agreement. There is this idea to just speak your point, and then wait to speak again. There needs to be a great shift in how we speak with one another without attacking someone over their view point. These “empathy walls” you mention need to be broken down with genuine concern and engagement rather than just trying to talk over the other person. You’ve tackled the issue greatly when it comes to how Americans need to push for peaceful debates. Perhaps we need to also look at why our methods of debate have evolved into what they have. Very little patience with an urgency to speak outweighs actual discourse.