Guest Opinions

Guest column: Badger Club meeting looks at gun control issue

Another week, another mass shooting in America.

This week, six died in Kalamazoo, Mich. It has happened seemingly everywhere in our nation, including the Northwest on Friday, when at least four died in Belfair.

When does it stop? How does it stop?

One side of the political spectrum calls for gun control, citing the United States as the most gun-heavy nation on Earth and, subsequently, the country with the most mass shootings.

Another side says gun control is not the answer because that will mean only the shooters will have guns — and they will find a way to get guns, legally or not. We have a constitutional right to bear arms, and that must be protected.

It is an issue that is both black and white and shaded with an endless spectrum of gray in between. With each headline about another major act of gun violence, our society feels more helpless and hopeless.

Spend more than a few minutes on Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll quickly realize the gulf between the two sides of the gun issue. It is immense, it is deep, it is divisive. There are few reasonable conversations from either point of view.

We need to have that conversation. We need to talk about guns and their consequences in a reasonable manner. We need to respect others’ perspectives calmly. We need to be respectful of each other if we ever hope to find some kind of solution.

And we dearly need a solution.

The Columbia Basin Badger Club is going to hold that discussion, and we’re inviting the community to join us. On March 3, we will screen the 2014 documentary No Control, a remarkable film that shows many sides of the gun issue, from a man who creates a piece of art for the sole purpose of having it vanish to someone who shows just how easy it is to legally build a gun.

Most provocative of all is Cody Wilson, a man who figured out how to make a gun using a 3D printer. It’s called The Liberator, and it works. It blows apart gun-control arguments because it means anyone with a 3D printer and the right plans (freely available on the Internet) can make their own legal .22-caliber pistol with no background checks — and no control.

No Control is written and directed by Jessica Solce, who has directed three other films.

After the film, we will talk about what we saw and what we learned. We will have a reasonable conversation.

Leading our discussion on guns is Ken Robertson, longtime Tri-Citian and retired executive editor of the Tri-City Herald. Robertson’s credentials are fascinating and make him a perfect host for this live event. He’s a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association and grew up in gun-happy Montana. He’s also a staunch moderate, maybe even leaning a little bit to the liberal side of many issues.

If we as a society are going to figure this out — and we must because we just can’t take these tragedies any longer — then we have to be willing to stop yelling and start listening. We must take reasonable steps to end gun violence in a way that makes everybody somewhat comfortable with the results. We must all compromise if we are going to move forward.

Can we do that? We have to try.

Andy Perdue is the chairman of the program committee for the Columbia Basin Badger Club. He lives in Richland.

If you go:

The Columbia Basin Badger Club will screen the documentary film "No Control." It shows all sides of the gun control controversy.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, March 3.

Where: Uptown Theater, 1300 Jadwin Ave., Richland.

Cost: Free to public.

RSVP: Email or call 628-6011 by noon Monday, Feb. 29, to reserve your place.