Let me begin by stating that I don’t have the answer for gun violence in America, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to understand the situation nor advocating on behalf of those who have lost their lives to it. This blog serves as a summary of the current gaps in legislation, school safety, consumer protection, and research. The purpose is to consider all factors causing the problem and then develop problem statements. Only by understanding the current situation fully, can we move forward with our objectives and (non)training solutions.
These ideas will, hopefully, help us to form a solid argument for gun reform because the current situation regarding gun legislation and gun use is a crisis out of control. Through revision from your feedback, and as I learn more details, I seek a plan of action based on commonsense gun laws. In my opinion, the current situation is riddled with inadequacies in regards to public safety due to lax and inconsistent laws. Today, in honor of the #MarchForOurLives, I advocate change for good and applaud those involved in making informed decisions about gun laws that aren’t based on political or financial gains.
Here are some of the ideas being promoted that require proof of efficacy:
(A) Restrict entry to a single-point and require visitors to sign-in to limit access to nonstudents and nonpersonnel.
(B) Provide a sufficient number of resource officers and counselors in accordance with school size to address student and staff needs.
(C) Provide active shooter training and drills to prepare students and staff for such situations.
There’s a critical need to reform gun laws. Here’s a list of proposed measures to reduce gun violence:
(A) Raise the age restriction to 21 to purchase a rifle or shotgun in accordance with the existing federal laws regarding handgun purchases from a licensed dealer. Additionally, handguns and rifles purchased from unlicensed dealers (e.g., neighbor, gun show seller, or online store) should have the same age restrictions.
(B) Require comprehensive background checks on nonlicensed buyers and enforce a centralized database to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, suspected terrorists on the no-fly list, the mentally ill, and other federally prohibited persons. A panel of gun violence experts cited these as effective means to curb gun violence (The New York Times)
(C) Require a waiting period to purchase a gun and to run a thorough federal background check. The purpose is to allow individuals a cooling-off period in the case of potential gun violence due to anger toward others or self. See the Giffords Law Center for the research basis for this. Some states have already legislated this.
(D) Reinstate the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. This is supported by the American Public Health Association (APHA). Gun violence experts also cited these as effective measures (The New York Times). See the House Judiciary Committee 2019 gun safety bill.
(E) Ban the sale of bump stocks that modify regular guns to perform as rapid-fire assault weapons. The 2017 Las Vegas mass shooter had 12 rifles configured with bump stocks and was able to fire 90 shots in 10 seconds (The New York Times). This should already be strictly enforced by the government as it bucks existing federal laws for machine guns (18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(23); 27 C.F.R. § 479.11). See also 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b).
(F) Ban online sales of ‘ghost guns’ sold as maker kits that bear no serial identification.
(G) Extreme risk protection from individuals who possess firearms and are acting erratic and may cause harm to self or others. See the House Judiciary Committee 2019 gun safety bill.
(H) Ban the sale of firearms to persons who have a misdemeanor for committing a hate crime. See the House Judiciary Committee 2019 gun safety bill.
The consumer is left unprotected in almost all aspects of gun sales. Congress should ensure unsafe guns are recalled through an oversight agency such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Our Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have jurisdiction over firearms and ammunition. Currently, unsafe guns are only recalled by manufacturers, not the government. Governmental oversight of unsafe guns was blocked by Rep. Dingell in 1972 and 1975 and has not been brought up for legislation since though many have tried (Bloomberg).
Gun manufacturers should be required to test guns to ensure they work properly. For example, according to the Bloomberg report, nine different Taurus guns may fire when bumped or dropped even with the safety on.
Gun sellers, as defined by the ATF, should obtain a federal firearms license. Moreover, the ATF needs to provide sufficient oversight, as the US DOJ Report #1-2004-005 found negligence in their inspections of licensure.
Congress should allow the use of smart gun technology such as devices that scan the owner’s fingerprint before it can fire. See President Obama’s memorandum based on the Department of Justice review (Federal Register), which reported its potential for reduction of accidental deaths by guns and use of stolen guns in criminal activities. Gun lobbyists kept Smith & Wesson from developing smart gun technologies through slander and a boycott of their products after President Clinton pushed the Gun Safety Agreement in 2000 with them. The American Public Health Association supports innovative technology to reduce gun violence and accidental shootings.
Gun laws should be based on research and safe practices for society. Congress should lift current restrictions on federal funding for research into gun violence. For example, the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System needs support from all 50 states, U.S. territories, and D.C.
What other recommendations do you have?
Note: I’ve written 170 blogs on this WordPress site. This is the only political one. Commonsense gun reform is critical to the safety of everyday citizens.