In Search of the Golden Mean in the Gun Debate

33 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2016

See all articles by Andrew Jay McClurg

Andrew Jay McClurg

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Date Written: 2015


The American gun debate is stuck and has been for a long time. Both sides remain trapped by their own hyperbolic rhetoric and reasoning fallacies, with the result that partisans are being heard only by those who already agree with them. This essay asserts that there is such a thing as “reasonable middle ground” in the gun debate and seeks to prove it by analyzing five specific measures that have the potential to reduce gun violence without infringing legitimate Second Amendment rights: (1) bolstering federal support for research into the causes and prevention of gun violence, which Congress has blocked since the 1990s; (2) extending instant background checks, currently required only for sales by licensed firearms dealers, to all gun sales; (3) requiring gun purchasers to demonstrate their knowledge of state gun laws and basic gun safety rules and also their ability to safely handle the gun they are purchasing; (4) mandating security measures by retail gun sellers to prevent theft; and (5) implementing microstamping technology that would enable law enforcement to trace crime guns and ammunition cartridges found at crime scenes, facilitating the apprehension and prosecution of violent criminals. Certainly, other, more substantial measures exist that would be effective in combating gun deaths and injuries, but this essay purposely selected limited measures with the hopeful goal of getting people to recognize that there may well be a “golden mean” in the gun debate.

Suggested Citation

McClurg, Andrew Jay, In Search of the Golden Mean in the Gun Debate (2015). Howard Law Journal, Vol. 58, No. 779, 2015, University of Memphis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 154, Available at SSRN:

Andrew Jay McClurg (Contact Author)

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law ( email )

1 Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
United States

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