Seventeen innocent children are dead in Florida. They are dead because man is fallen. We live in a world where evil exists, and it seeks to overwhelm those of us who have faith in something greater than ourselves. Americans should be praying fervently for the victims of this evil and for the wisdom to move forward.
The founders of this country, though they could not foresee such atrocious acts as Parkland, were wise men. They left us a blueprint, a framework for a realistic approach to dealing with dozens of issues, including mass shootings and gun violence. This blueprint is scalable and realistic to an individual community’s concerns. The founder’s map rests on a concept known as federalism, and it’s one of the many nuggets of truth our policy makers can look at when addressing this tragedy.
What Is Federalism?
Federalism is the practice and political theory which delegates certain powers to state and local governments. It is our nation’s current political structure. As teased out in the political classic, The Federalist Papers, federalism gives authority to constituents through their representative governments, at the state, local, and federal levels. As lawmakers in Washington bicker over potential solutions from the federal government, the best solution may be as simple as doing nothing.
“THAT the genius of the Constitution – the division of powers – is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;”
– The Sharon Statement, 1960
Gun violence and mass shootings are arguably some of the most complex and divisive issues that our nation faces. Addressing them at the highest office in the land has gotten us little to no traction in the past several decades. With mass shootings skyrocketing to unprecedented levels, the question is not who will make the change, but where the change will take place. Following news of the FBI’s lapse of enforcement after multiple reports of the shooter’s intentions, there is an uneasiness surrounding our federal agencies, one which for now, is deserved.
Federalism In Practice
Immediately after the Parkland shooting, Florida Governor Rick Scott vowed to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. This is federalism in action: a state taking the initiative to address gun violence in a practical way. Gov. Scott’s approach strategically caters to the needs of Florida’s citizens. Whether it be Rick Scott or any other governor, state lawmaker, or city council, the solutions are in their hands. It’s time constituents emphasize local responsibility to keep our communities safe.
Whatever the ills of mass shootings may be, one thing of which we can be certain is that they won’t stop until we change. Change comes from the heart, and it’s just as much a sociological and philosophical struggle as it is a political struggle.
Alexis de Tocqueville believed American greatness came through our goodness, so we must ask ourselves today, where has our goodness gone?