Category: gun control

Today’s Title Is… Addressing Gun Violence In America

Today’s Title Is… Addressing Gun Violence In America

I had hoped to write this when we weren’t in the aftermath of another mass shooting, but that appears to be impossible. Let’s begin with certain realities.

First, do we really have a gun problem in America? Millions of Americans are willing to accept over thirty-thousand gun deaths annually as the price to pay for individual rights. Second, regardless of what steps are taken, we won’t eliminate all murders, suicides, and mass shootings. The goal should be to reduce these deaths substantially, but they’re not all going away. Third, let’s drop the name calling and labels, such as “gun nut” or “anti-gun liberal”. Stop interpreting the second amendment to justify your viewpoint. Fourth, if the only reason certain individuals, groups, or organizations are involved is to “defend their turf”, they won’t be part of any solution. Real changes have to be based on compromise and acknowledging that the number of American deaths involving guns is unacceptable.

One priority is how law abiding citizens should not be penalized for following the law when criminals don’t. Whether you identify yourself as a proponent of “gun control” or are a supporter of “gun rights”, or even somewhere in the middle, no one can argue that there is not a flood of weapons in the hands of criminals. What to do?

  1. Destroy guns collected in buy back programs and guns confiscated after arrests when no longer needed for the legal process. Also, I read that some police departments are so strapped for cash to update their weapons that they sell their older guns to the public. Understandable, but unacceptable.
  2. Take advantage of technological advances that limit who can use a particular weapon, usually referred to as “personalized guns”, such as fingerprint scanners, etc.
  3. Administer harsher penalties for those in possession of illegal weapons or convicted of crimes involving firearms, as well as limits on gun ownership for those with previous convictions.

Assuming that we can’t wait to take action, a few specific steps may produce big results.

Since research shows the majority of gun related deaths are from suicides and accidents, institute a ten day waiting period nation wide to eliminate spontaneous purchases, and require gun owners to secure their guns in a locked safe or cabinet when they aren’t home. This should help to protect children and prevent thefts.

I’m tired of the “assault weapons” discussion. Guns designed for military use, with the express purpose of firing as many rounds as possible in the shortest amount of time, should not be available to the general public.

As to gun registration and the buying process, I know that different states have different requirements. However, we need to have some uniform principles that require a background check every time there is a new owner of a gun, including online and gun show sales, as well as the sale/gifting between friends or family members.

When an individual commits a crime, especially a gruesome one such as a mass shooting, we assume they have mental health issues. Certainly, we need to review our reporting and eliminate the possibility that these individuals should have access to guns. However, let’s make sure that we don’t simply see mental illness as causing all violent crime.

Finally, we must keep in mind that gun ownership is entrenched in American society and history and that’s not changing- there are many reasons why Americans choose to own a gun. The focus must be to address types of weapons owned, keeping track of who’s in possession of guns, and making sure that gun owners are both knowledgeable and well trained in the operation of their weapon.

For those who say that most gun owners are law abiding citizens, I believe this to be true. I wonder, though, how many crimes were committed by law abiding citizens until they were no longer law abiding citizens?