It's time for some common sense on gun laws
by Patrick Fogarty
Another school shooting just happened as I write this. It has taken me multiple tries to get down my thoughts because I start feeling sick just thinking about all the mass shootings that have occurred, and I have to step away. Plus, I think about the legislation Amodei and Heller repealed that now functionally allows certified, mentally unstable people to buy guns, and I get angry. (1)
Inspired, but Angry
The #MarchForOurLives event in Reno was huge and inspiring, but I also felt angry thinking about all the lives needlessly lost because legislators can't make common sense gun reform happen.
So, from the above words and my image, it is probably hard to believe that I grew up around firearms. Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and uncle, and they were all hunters. I think they had four freezers to store meat in. Hunting was fine, but the bonding time and target practice were what I enjoyed the most.
Someone has also broken into my house while my wife and I were home. I didn’t need a firearm for defense then, but my point is that I have been in the classic situations where one needs to use firearms.
But in no case short of a zombie apocalypse can I see someone needing an assault rifle. Even criminals don’t typically use them: only about 3% of all crime involving firearms is carried out with an assault rifle (2). Its purpose is war—accurate, long distance, mass shooting, with a ton of stopping power!
From 1994 to 2004 when a leaky ban was in place on assault rifles, there were an average 1.6 mass shootings per year. From 2005 to 2015 when the ban was not renewed, this jumped to more than 4 mass shootings per year and using the same definition, there were 10 mass shootings in 2017. (3)
1. Manufacturers should not be allowed to make assault rifles or pistols for sale to the public. Assault rifles are being used in many mass shootings and assault pistols are being used more and more in criminal activities.
2. Background checks loopholes need to be closed. For example, even purchasing a firearm at gun shows should require a background check.
3. Nobody with documented, severe mental illness should be allowed to buy, own, or possess a firearm until they have been treated and are certified stable. I’m thinking specifically of people flagged by the Social Security Administration as unable to manage their own affairs. (1)
4. Minors should not be allowed to buy or own a firearm and should only be able to posses a gun in the presence of an adult.
5. Households with minors should have all firearms stored in a gun safe or similarly locked storage with access by the minors restricted. This step alone would prevent the deaths of five kids every day in America.
6. Finally, anyone who owns an assault weapon should be allowed to keep it, but the government should create a voluntary program that buys back assault weapons and “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” (removable clips that hold more than 10 bullets) to provide a sales outlet for these weapons to make sure they do not find their way into the hands of criminals.
Update: Since I wrote this, there have been many more school shootings, and it has become clear that many shooters are encouraged and radicalized in online forums. We need to break up or disrupt these forums that idolize school shooters.
It will take time, but we can reverse the horrible trend that has exposed more than 187,000 students to gun violence at school since 1999, and we need to hurry. (4)
Please register as a Democrat and vote for me in Nevada’s June 12 primary.