Our cities used to have horrible problems with fires because of, among other things, how the buildings were constructed. Building codes were enacted and have reduced our problems with fires considerably.
The American people have a fundamental right to property. Sure, those codes infringe upon property rights to some extent. But the government did not take away all private property. Fires did not go away entirely. There are still arsonists. But fires are harder to start and don’t spread as rapidly.
As a society, we are much better at talking about what limitations on property rights are appropriate and necessary to a properly functioning society. Those discussions and the resulting decisions are not universally loved. People often chafe at zoning requirements and other limitations, but it’s a disagreement about where the line should be drawn — not (generally) a line about whether the government should have such authority at all. Our ability to talk about proper firearm limitations is much more dysfunctional. I think that has to do with firearms having become something of a tribal totem, the presence or absence of which makes a person a part of the In-Group or part of The Other. When The Other tells you how you must or must not define the boundaries of a right, it provokes a much more emotional response than when the discussion is just a disagreement among members of your group.
In any event, the right to bear arms is no more sacrosanct than the right to property. Firearms are causing a lot more deaths in our country than in others. You can point to things like mental health or evil as “the reason,” but for those to be the primary problem, you’d have to conclude that Americans are uniquely mentally ill or evil, which I don’t believe to be the case. We are unique in the ease with which our citizens can acquire firearms that are effective at killing many people rapidly. So regulation is necessary and appropriate. “Regulated” is right there in the Second Amendment.
We have a problem. It’s a problem other countries don’t seem to have. We need more and/or different regulation. The question is what that regulation should look like. (And, while there are some suggesting that “more guns” is the answer; to me that sounds like someone addressing those conflagrations in cities and — rather than building codes — suggest stocking up on more gas-soaked wood.) I don’t pretend to have particular insights into what would help. A first step is probably loosening the restrictions that have made it difficult or for the CDC to study the issue of gun violence. I have also suggested an insurance regime for ownership of firearms which might help bring market forces to bear on the problem. Of course, none of this is going to work if America’s gun owners are in a defensive crouch. There are a lot of them, and they know a lot more about firearms than I do. But, I don’t know how we persuade them to be part of the solution.