How can we best protect children?
The only prospect more chilling than strapping our children into little bullet-proof backpacks and sending them off to a school patrolled by armed security guards is the possibility of some day regretting that we had not taken these precautions.
No doubt, concerned parents and schools will weigh the safety concerns of their children carefully and will decide which precautions make the most sense for their community.
But the reality is that these horrific school shootings are rare and we all are vulnerable to being gunned down by someone who has no business with a gun in the first place.
Our country and Congress are struggling to balance the Second Amendment and the legality of assault rifles and extended magazines. We need wisdom and fairness.
The NRA’s disdain for this process is inexplicable and counterproductive.
I am quite sure that the type of “tyrannical government” that would justify taking up arms against it would have no compunction about using its military might to quell such an action.
I will support any gun legislation that makes it marginally less likely that I will ever have to use my own.
If you are convinced that owning a semi-automatic weapon designed for no other reason than to kill other humans at 100 rounds a minute is fundamental to preserving your Second Amendment rights, we may have little chance of agreement on banning assault weapons
But maybe there is something else that we can agree on.
As it stands today, explicit budgetary restrictions prohibit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from compiling gun-related research and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is prohibited by congressional act from disseminating aggregate data on which guns are used in what crimes.
In addition, federal law does not demand that gun stores keep a detailed and available inventory.
These three limitations brought about by the gun lobby keep anyone from knowing anything of substance about how firearms are used in this country and make tracking weapons difficult to impossible.
Any change in guns laws should include a correction of these three travesties. If our law enforcement and our media had access to information about gun use, responsible gun control could begin. If strict inventory laws were in place, millions of guns that simply vanish could be stopped from making their way into illicit activity.
We can’t speak intelligently about gun use because we don’t have any information.
If that information were available and if “inventory losses” were curtailed, we would have taken two giant steps toward controlling and curtailing gun violence in America.
Hopefully, we can all agree that we should do at least this much.
Richard L. Beck, DMD
E. Ashley Avenue