Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Power of Choice - My Outsider's Response to Sandy Hook

All the discussion and debate around gun control following the Sandy Hook massacre appears to be saying that the President and the Government must do something.  The opposite side is raising the second amendment and the right it enshrines to bare arms and opposing Government dictating their lives (as Aussies would say, the Nanny State). 

I'll hazard a guess there are a large number still remaining silent, or are conflicted.

One strategy I've not seen or heard to date in Australian media, and the limited US media I see is the use of personal power, corporate power and the power of the dollar in the choices that individuals and corporations make.

Gun buyers have the power of choice.

They can exercise their power through the choices of what and where to buy.  They can choose not to purchase firearms and associated ammunition such as were used in this shooting, and decline offers when sales assistants ask ('Do you want fries with that?'  NO).  They can make the choice 'I will not buy from a store that also sells X, Y and/or Z types of firearms'.  Another is 'I am willing to fore go a purchase until I find a store that fits this criteria'.  And I will tell stores WHY I am not buying from them.

Anyone who already owns these type of weapons have the choice to freely relinquish them to authorities.

Non-gun buyers have the power of choice.

They can exercise their power through their choice of who they spend their money with.  They can choose not to support corporations that have any role in the retail of, or manufacture of particular types of weapons.  Gun buyers can also exercise this power.

This power is no different than ethical shopping decisions some may make in terms of animal cruelty, environmental concerns or human rights/labour concerns.

There's one week till Christmas, probably with lots of shopping to be done. 

Dollars talk.

Corporations have the power of choice.

CEOs, Managing Directors, Boards can say 'effective immediately, we will no longer stock X, Y and/or Z weapons' and instruct stores to remove them from the shelves by the end of the day;  They can install a purchasing policy -  'we will favour suppliers across our range (firearms and non-firearms) who do not manufacture these types of weapons'.

On-shore manufacturers can choose to remove these types of weapons from supply to retailers, deciding to supply only to Government (military, police and so forth). 

Pawn shops, second hand retailers and so forth can choose to no longer accept or stock these types of weapons.

One blog I read called for mothers to march on Washington to demand change in legislation.  Change in government purchasing policy can also be lobbied for. Corporate headquarters can also be marched on to demand change to purchasing and stock policies. 

In incredibly simplistic terms, if no store in America stocks the weapons - either through choice not to stock, lack of supply, or it's no longer profitable to stock them- no one in America can legally buy them (subject to existing legislation on the direct second-hand market).

Change without a single piece of legislation in sight.