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Reader: A proposal to stem gun violence without taking away anyone's Second Amendment rights

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I used to argue against banning assault rifles. I reasoned that a semiautomatic deer rifle is equally deadly. Then I noticed something. Modern mass murderers never use deer rifles.

When you think about it, the reason is obvious. These school shooters all have two things in common. They all are male, and they have been made to feel insignificant, worthless, emasculated. They see mass murder as a way to make a dying declaration: "I am a man!" And nothing symbolizes manhood more than a combat weapon.

So I respectfully submit a proposal for stemming the epidemic of gun violence without taking away anyone's Second Amendment rights.

Because a gunman's goal is to assert his manliness we simply need to make guns seem less masculine. We need to pass a law prohibiting the sale of any gun that is not pink. A bright, feminine, pink. While this would require gun manufacturers to sign licensing deals with Disney or Pixar, we should also require that pink assault rifles, semiautomatic handguns, etc., be decorated with images like Hello Kitty, Snow White or Elsa. I submit that a deranged teenager will be far less inclined to imagine glory coming from a gun that looks like it came from his little sister's playroom.

Of course these gunmen, and gun enthusiasts, may spray-paint their weapons so that they again look like something Clint Eastwood might be proud to carry, and there would have to be penalties for this kind of defacement. But this misses the larger goal, which is to remove masculine fantasies from gun ownership.

Some gun owners will howl, but they can't complain about loss of Second Amendment rights. They still can have all the guns they want. They can carry them, go to gun shows, maybe trade an AR-15 decorated with the Seven Dwarfs for one festooned with colorful images of unicorns. The only possible objection is that these pink guns don't make them feel the way a black gun, or a shiny silver gun, makes them feel. That, at least, will allow an honest debate.

The debate topic: Just how important is that feeling?

— Daniel Stageman, Colorado Springs

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