Recently our local newspaper in Chester County, the Daily Local News, in editorials on August 30 and Sept. 2, sent a disturbing message about gun violence being “too complicated,” and a “disease without a cure.” This is the wrong message to send. Here is our answer to people throwing up their hands and thinking nothing can be done about the scourge of gun violence:
CCCPGV appreciates your spending the time to do a personal article on the gun violence problem, though we are disappointed in your conclusions. To summarize what you say, “the problem of gun violence is complicated,” “we can’t take people’s guns away,” and “it is impossible to stop unstable people from committing random acts of violence.” We don’t agree. It really is not all that complicated.
Easy access to guns is the main problem in this country.
You rightly point out how easy it is to get guns in the inner city, where crime, drug dealing and gangs thrive. At the same time, mentally unstable people who pass a background check can buy a gun legally, and commit horrific acts, like the shooter of the two young journalists this past week.
You make a mistake when you make ‘all or nothing’ statements. For instance, “We are kidding ourselves if we think we can prevent all gun violence by the mentally ill.” and “I am not calling for an end to the purchase of arms by law-abiding citizens.”
First of all, the gun rights advocates state that gun control advocates “want to take away all of our guns.” This 2nd amendment cry is such a red herring, since the vast majority of gun violence prevention groups, including the Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, DO NOT ADVOCATE GETTING RID OF ALL GUNS! So please stop buying into the NRA mantra of fear that “the government is coming to take our guns away!”
Second of all: no, we can never get rid of all gun violence; no country can. But we CAN significantly reduce the amount of gun violence with simple common sense measures.
1. Require much more stringent and thorough reporting of mental and emotional instability,including stalkers, domestic abusers, etc., into the background check system.
2. Require all background checks to be completed! The Charleston shooter would never have gotten his guns if his background check was finished. Instead, it took longer than 3 days, and he got his weapons to commit mayhem.
3. Require all gun owners to go through an NRA rated (best) gun safety course, and require by law locks on all guns in the house with children under 18. This will significantly reduce child accidents and suicide.
4. Universal background checks – for all private as well as public sales. 40% of the guns in this country are sold without a background check. Where else in the civilized world does this happen?
5. Crack down on the illegal actions of Bad Apple gun dealers, and require regular inventory checks by the ATF. 10% of the gun dealers sell 90% of the guns that show up in crimes.
Such steps would significantly reduce the gun trafficking that makes purchasing illegal guns too easy.
Would this get rid of ALL gun violence? Of course not, but these measures alone would save thousands of lives and untold amounts of pain and suffering by the surviving family members. These are a few of the common sense policies that we and most other gun violence groups advocate. Please tell us why these can’t be done!
We will tell you why they are not done: the absolute timidity and irresponsibility of those elected officials who will do everything they can to avoid upsetting the gun lobby, and their noisy, and well-funded minions. Unless and until we get publicly elected officials with a spine, Democrat and Republican alike, we will continue to read about tragedy after tragedy, and editors will write columns about ‘What can really be done?”