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Common-sense gun laws

Anniston (Alabama) Star Published: June 3, 2014 4:00 AM

What America needs are common-sense gun-control laws that respect both sides of the argument and do whatever’s necessary to thwart preventable gun-related violence.
On May 23, a young man in California killed six people and then committed suicide with legally bought handguns. Elliot Rodger left a trail of social-media explanations for why he sought revenge against those he felt had shunned him. In the last few days it’s become apparent that Rodgers’ previous encounters with law enforcement and mental-health officials weren’t enough to stop this unsteady young man from committing another of these all-too-common American mass murders.
The Second Amendment — regardless of your modern-day interpretation of it — doesn’t touch on one of gun control’s biggest problems: how to keep firearms out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them because of health concerns.
This passage from the Los Angeles Times is particularly wise. “The mental health system is imperfect, by design — a teeter-totter that weighs patients’ civil liberties against public safety. Rodger existed in the middle, on the fulcrum, simmering and disturbed, just beyond arm’s reach.”

When it comes to gun violence in the United States, statistics are both helpful and confusing. Since the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut in December 2012, there have been at least 44 additional school shootings in America, according to gun-control advocacy groups Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Nevertheless, Bureau of Justice data released last summer show that the number of gun-violence deaths dropped 39 percent between 1993 and 2011.

If you want a verified statistic involving guns in America, you can find it.

Devoid of spin or political influence is this fact: guns are readily available to too many people with mental-health issues. Databases designed to prevent the mentally ill from legally purchasing guns work well in too few states. And from the law-enforcement perspective, there’s this: Half or more of the people shot and killed each year by police have mental-health problems, according to a study from the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center.

America’s quest for a safer nation compels us to rethink the “teeter-totter” that’s allowing guns to legally get into the hands of the wrong people. The death toll rises, yet again.

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little_r_republican Jun 5, 2014 12:26 PM

Trawl...that is an honest and valid opinion.

trawl Jun 3, 2014 1:36 PM

The comments section well illustrates one major hurdle to addressing this problem.

The issue being presented is the mentally ill's access to weaponry.

The issue isn't just rifles and certintantly not rifles verses anything else. The issue isn't disarming the American populace and allowing the criminal element free run.

I can only speculate why the comments section contains these strawmen. I hope strawman has been presented via a true intellectual dishonesty and a cognizant attempt at derailment and redirection and changing of the subject because the alternitive theory is that in these peoples minds knives vs. guns, and disarming the population, is actually the same issue as keeping guns from the hands of the mentally ill. Such a confusion would be scary.

Or maybe they're telling us that their inability to face the actual subject, doing something to keep guns from the mentally ill, is an indicator, intentional or otherwise, that they believe the disarming the mentally incompetant would leave them without weponry.

We can only speculate.



redleg6 Jun 3, 2014 10:08 AM

FBI data:

In 2011, more people were murdered with knives, "hands or feet" or "clubs and hammers" than with any type of rifle.



little_r_republican Jun 3, 2014 7:03 AM

No gun law will ever stop criminals from getting a gun to rob, threaten or kill. Chicago is a clear example that quite the opposite occurs when you copletely disarm law abiding citizens. They become easy pickins for the law breakers.