Over the past two years I have gone over the issue of gun violence time and again…and referenced those headline grabbing stories from Congresswoman Giffords to Sandy Hook to the more common, more frequent, more deadly stories of children picking up their parent’s gun and killing themselves or others to the man who kills his entire family because he is paranoid about an uncertain future. I tend to write as a systems analyst, looking pragmatically at all sides of the issue, all causes from access to guns to the mental health and stresses that cause folks to go just that far over the line.
Now to a personal view… MY observations and solutions that I make from a position of being a long time gun owner and target shooter [over 50 years since I first learned to shoot and 40 years as a gun owner] AND a supporter of the need to solve the problems of gun violence.
The very first element of my solution is to honestly define the problem. That means looking at everything that is in the swirl of the violence and what it will take to actively reduce the body count. It also means not disrespecting the tens of millions of gun owners who are not violent, not unstable…not part of the problem.
This missive addresses gun issues ONLY, please refer to other articles to address the multitude of causes of violence that need to be addressed to diffuse the other side of a shooter’s actions.
Starting at the foundation means addressing personal responsibility to remove from the equation the senseless deaths of kids with their parent’s weapons and the 200,000 guns stolen per year that end up outside the system, more likely to be involved in crime. That means a requirement to stow your weapons and further to maintain liability if your gun is stolen.
Stopping the ability of gun owners to buy/sell firearms without a paper trail must be addressed if a continuation of liability is to be achieved.
From the perspective of regulations, I believe that a ban on 30+ magazines is reasonable. They serve little purpose in the many legitimate uses of a semi-automatic rifle. I do not believe a ban on future sales of semi-automatic assault weapons will work to solve the problem, it is more kneejerk than solution.
Chicago is looking at putting a tax on ammunition to pay for their ever escalating gun wound costs at their ERs. While it affects the 99% of gun owners who do not contribute to the problem of gun violence, a reasonable tax on types of ammo has merit.
At some point there needs to be an enhancement of background checks at the point of purchase to insure that nobody who should not own a weapon slips through the cracks. That means requiring states to include mental health evaluations into the NICS. It will be costly, intrusive but can weed out some buyers.
Right now many prisons are revolving doors…those with violent tendencies are out well before their sentences demand. We have to fund prisons to address convicted violent people and not let them back on the streets to get one of the many underground guns that are so available.
There are too many loopholes in current regulations, and many are not enforced due to budget considerations. Among them, closing a loopholes that allows strawman purchases, that allows undocumented buy/sell of guns.
Will this stop gun violence…NO. Will it – along with addressing the causes that make a shooter pick up a gun – slowdown the gun violence and deaths…YES.