LJWorld.com weblogs Loyal Opposition
In my somewhat limited world whatever solution is proffered to address a problem must be judged by how well it actually resolves the problem.
In the recent cases of gun violence against groups, the weapons used were legal, the individuals using them were to a greater or lesser extent mentally ill and the use of large magazines aggravated the severity of the crime.
The proposed legislative solutions at the national level address the large magazine issue (although IMHO in a way that does not solve it). It also may address the set of weapons used but probably not because there is no really adequate distinction between those weapons and weapons used historically and broadly for hunting or personal defense. Now we could and probably will discuss outlawing the “Bushmaster” rifle but I will bet that within a year a “Tree master” rife with almost indistinguishable features will be available that will still leave us with the problem. Semi-automatic rifles are a pretty homogenous set as to operation. IMHO the only way to achieve a culture where not one child will be lost to gun violence is to totally outlaw guns and to make a very, very determined effort to capture all the illegal ones out there somewhere. If one bothers to notice this latter grouping drives the majority of our gun violence. Nothing so far seriously proposed does that.
I note little focus on mental health issues. I recognize this is a difficult issue to address but a failure to do so will almost certainly lead to further repetitions of the mass murders we have experienced in the recent past. Now, I am not certain there is anything we can do to totally negate the problem but a more rigorous tie between state mental health systems and the federal gun registry would be a good start. To do that correctly federal help is IMHO needed. Now, encompassed within that is a determination of what DSM codes should lead to an inability to acquire a firearm. I suspect that effort would in and of itself open a debate as large as the one on gun control as an end in itself.
I will avoid the issue of whether our cultural has a predisposition to violence that feeds this problem. If there is one there is nothing so far seriously proposed that addresses that issue.
Now doing nothing as opposed to doing something is not what I propose. But – big but – we need to be honest about the limitation of the proposed solutions. It would be a real disservice if our ultimate effort primarily harasses innocent people desiring to acquire a firearm they are legally entitled to own while accomplishing nothing toward limiting gun violence.