Trying to solve that gun death thing

I am hopeful, but not optimistic that tangible change will be enacted by Congress to reduce the risk of gun deaths in America. The kids who are protesting have already brought on some change with Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and Kroger announcing changes on gun sales policy and other companies eliminating discounts offered NRA members.

If change occurs it will likely be the result of the retailers paving the way and dragging Congress along. What we may end up seeing is something like integrated background checks and an age 21 restriction on assault weapons. We may see some funding for more security in schools. While these changes would help,  they are not near enough to help reduce most gun deaths and respond to what the significant majority of Americans want per repeated surveys. Here are a few thoughts:

– Let’s start with data and ask the CDC to track gun death data, which has been forbidden by Congress since the late 1990s. Then, we can measure progress of various initiatives.

– Next, we can ask for background checks on all gun transactions which should be a given since most Americans favor this. Plus, if someone is credibly reported on by a reasonable number of concerned citizens and a potential problem is deemed possible, the police must be able to seize weapons while more indepth review is undertaken via a legal process.

– Next, we could have an elongated waiting period, again favored by most Americans. Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicide, with suicide being the top reason for gun death in most states. Waiting a few more days will hopefully reduce impulsive suicides and may flag something.

– Then, we can address the mental health aspects. We could start by changing the law passed by Congress last year adding mentally disabled Social Security recipients to the eligible gun rolls. We could stabilize the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act and encourage Medicaid expansion both which have mental health benefits. We could also add funding for more school counsellors and psychologists which many states pulled back on. This could go part and parcel with funding more security in schools.

– Finally, we could reduce accidental deaths with more required training and finger printed triggers, so kids won’t do damage with weapons they find.

Personally, I would ban all assault weapons and bump stocks, but that is a hard sell in America.  I would not arm teachers as the solution to school gun deaths is not introducing 700,000 weapons to campuses, which would increase risk and not solve a problem. Shooting at someone shooting back at you is not something many are up to, especially if outgunned and in a chaotic environment. Let’s add security staff and measures.

Whatever we do, we must holistically addresses all gun deaths. I did not touch on poverty, drug industry, entertainment violence and lack of civility that cause gun violence. But, we must invest in these areas. What do you think? Am I off base? Do you have other ideas?

15 thoughts on “Trying to solve that gun death thing

  1. I am 110% in agreement with all your ideas! I strongly support a total ban on assault weapons in the hands of civilians, for I have never yet heard any valid argument for a civilian owning such a lethal weapon. I realize I’m outnumbered, or out-gunned on this one, but I will keep calling for it anyway, for I am a stubborn wench. Great post, Keith … common sense ideas to make a start in reducing gun deaths. Let’s just hope some in Congress have common sense also.

      • Jill, I think it was part of the Brady Bill, which had bipartisan support. This bill launched the new mission of the NRA and Democrats were swept out of office. This is why they are scared of them too. Speaking of scared, Trump has changed his posture after meeting with the NRA. I guess they reminded him of their $31 million donation to his campaign. Keith

  2. It’s a huge problem and your suggestions surely take us in the right direction!
    Also, we might recall that a nutter walked on an Army base not long ago and killed 13 men trained to defend themselves with the latest military weapons. Arming ordinary folks to “defend” themselves (especially teachers) is borderline madness.

    • Thanks Hugh. Good reminder of the military base shooting. As I recall, a trained female officer brought him down but she was shot several times.

  3. Note to Readers: I want to clarify that there does need to be an expedited due process before taking the guns after credible sources have raised concerns just to reduce the immediate threat. But, a more detailed process is needed following to confirm if the guns should be returned.

  4. Dear Keith,

    It looks like we all are on the same page.

    At a minimum, I want enhanced background checks including for guns sold at gun shows, a longer waiting period because if the background check isn’t forthcoming within 3 days, the dealer gets his sale; making it against the law to add devices like “bump stocks” which can alter a legal weapon into a machine gun; if someone is on terror watch list, he/she should not be able to buy a gun; better required updating of data that would bar someone from purchasing a gun onto the main system; the removal of guns for those declared to be a harm to themselves or others by a judicial order. I too would like to see a ban on assault rifles, but if not, there should be a federal law barring purchase for those less than 21 years of age.

    I would want federal approval for research regarding gun violence in our culture; the barring of the NRA from restricting dealers ability to sell smart guns, and I want the Obama’s restrictions on the mentally ill being able to purchase guns, reinstated.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, thanks for your very thorough response. I read the other day the author of the bill to restrict the CDC from gathering data, now regrets that bill. Keith

  5. Note to Readers: Two more retailers, REI and Mountain Equipment, added their voices and will not carry other products made by some gunmakers. As more retailers add there voice, Congress will be shamed into some action.

  6. “Let’s start with data and ask the CDC to track gun death data, which has been forbidden by Congress since the late 1990s.” I did not know this! No wonder it is so difficult to find data about gun deaths! Sheesh. I thought I was just too stupid to be able to find the motherload of statistics.

  7. Note to Readers: Kudos to the teens for pressuring the Florida legislature to do something. They passed a bill to increase the minimum age to 21 and the waiting period to three days. Other changes around selectively allowing guns in the hands of school personnel and done funding for security. The legislature should be commended for doing something, which is lost on the people in Washington.

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