Gun Control: An Issue for all citizens to resolve

It is obvious government cannot resolve the issue of gun control for all citizens; therefore, the people must take responsibility to solve the problem. The Washington Post reported 169 mass shooters between Aug. 1, 1966 and August 5th inclusive of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings.

“Some of these mass shooters were known to have violent tendencies or criminal pasts. Others seemed largely fine until they attacked. All but three were male. The vast majority were between the ages of 20 and 49. More than half — 95 of them — died at or near the scene of the shooting, often by killing themselves.  1,196 killed. The people who were killed came from nearly every imaginable race, religion and socioeconomic background. Their ages range from the unborn to the elderly; 190 were children and teenagers.  In addition, thousands of survivors were left with devastating injuries, shattered families and psychological scars.”

The Washington Post, 4 August 2019

Gun Violence Archive records mass shootings in “almost real time” and they currently have 26 violent incidences on their register for 2019.  An unconscionable number of assaults on human life in America; the country where people can pursue freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

How can Americans pursue happiness when there is a “climate of fear and hatred,” according to the President of the United States?  President Trump has stumped around the country with a comedy act that has promoting people to triggered against specific racial groups and specific people.

We must recognize domestic terroism

The rhetoric he spoke after the domestic terrorism that took place recently in El Paso and Dayton was diametrically different from what he has previously spewed. In El Paso, Hispanics were gunned down in what is being called Domestic Terrorism. After further research, the police are saying the shooter was radicalized by the “Dark Web.” Does this forgive Domestic Terrorism or explain another diagnosis?

In Dayton, as a reaction to the empathy of the Hispanic community, a White Supremacist filed a manifesto then killed and wounded as many as he could including his own sister. However, the killing in Dayton did not appear to be spur-of-the-moment. The manifesto was not written on a napkin, and did not take a few minutes to jot down while throwing back some something to drink in a coffee shop. This killing was planned and people were executed.

There is no place in America for hate

What the President read on national television was certainly written by someone with at least an opposing view as Trump read with some hesitation and even fumbled a few times. One specific fumble made him look like he was not on message when he referred to Toledo as the site of the mass shooting in Ohio, when he should have been talking about the shooting in Dayton.  Regardless, President Trump is suddenly calling for:

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.” He went on to say, “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.  Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heard and devours the soul.”

Michigan Live, 5 August 2019

Trump needs to stop blaming mass shootings on immigration, mental health, and hatred.  My friend Gary Barnes who is a practicing Clinical Psychologist said yesterday in a Facebook post,

“I’m tired of hearing Trump blame mental illness for gun violence when the research does not support this (except for suicide) as a way of avoiding gun legislation. And I’m angry that despite his attempt to shift blame his policies leave millions without health care, underfund mental health services badly, and drive up costs for most insured care.  He truly doesn’t care about the carnage beyond his political goals.”

Do’s and Don’ts of Gun Safety

We need active action to take guns off our streets.  As politicians have stonewalled appropriate actions at the local or federal levels, the only action left is for people to do the right thing.  The question is will they? 

Gun safety starts at home as the majority of kids are hurt or killed at home.
Gun safety starts at home as the majority of kids are hurt or killed at home.

Thinking about gun safety ideas

What can citizens do to make a difference?  Considering the statistics of the mass shootings, who the shooters were, and how they acquired their guns, there are ways for gun owners to make changes to prevent mass shootings.

I suggest gun owners can make changes that will make a difference.

  1. Do not “open carry” a weapon. Weapons must be legally concealed or don’t carry a gun at all.
  2. All concealed weapons must be approved and licensed by a local FBI office.
  3. Store all weapons in a locked weapons case (with combination) out of sight.
  4. Travel with hunting weapons in a locked weapons case (with combination) always kept inside a locked vehicle when not in use.
  5. Travel with weapons in a weapons case (with combination) when going to a shooting range. Or, the better options would be to store weapons at the shooting range for retrieval When shooting at the practice range all handlers should leave their weapons at the range unless trained and licensed concealed weapons

As a Veteran, I expect there are some people including my fellow Veterans that believe owning weapons are their constitutional right. What I am proposing is not imposing on anyone’s right to own a weapon. In fact, most people are safe gun owners.

While most parents keep their weapons appropriately stored, Beth Ebel, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention said, “Yet nearly 40 percent of gun-owning households with children [age 14 and under] have an unlocked gun to which a child might gain access.”  As a result, 140 minors are killed, and 3000 minors are injured are injured in homes each year; these children are all under the age of 14 years old.  An unacceptable number!

Getting guns that are not safely stored

The minors quoted as killed by the AAP do not include mass shootings on school campuses which is a whole other blog conversation. My proposal suggests people change their gun ownership habits to save the lives of children and other people in the near vicinity. Changing gun ownership habits will prevent people including children from getting guns that are not safely stored.  Nothing to do with authorized gun users. True, this does not solve Gun Control; however, it does improve Gun Safety. It is just one step!

UPDATE: 02 September 2019 — On Saturday, 31 August 2019, a gunman in Odessa, Texas went on a shooting rampage. Seven people were killed and CNN Situation Room states “almost two dozen others injured.” FBI agents states he also made calls to the FBI. This man made up to four 911 calls on Saturday before, and at least one call while he was killing people. 911 agents apparently were confused about what he was talking about.

Apparently we don’t yet understand mass shooting

I suggest the Gun Safety information above be updated to follow. These ideas are more restrictive, however, we as a community have to do something to protective ourselves.

  1. Citizens should not own or carry an AR-15 or other machine guns. The guns are meant for the Military, either active or irregular.
  2. Develop a buy-back program potentially funded as a mission program by large evangelical churches in large cities.
  3. The program must be implemented so as many guns as possible are removed off the street and in homes.
  4. People must be paid for their deposit of illegal guns.
  5. All drop off locations must be monitored by local police, and guns have to be handed over to the police to be destroyed.

Update: Another Mass Shooting

02 September 2019 — Due to the recent mass shooting on Saturday (31 August 2019) in Texas, I believe there needs to be some more assertive Gun Safety attempts by citizens. I am sure many will not buy into the idea, however, it could take some dangerous guns off the streets. My suggestion is large community churches, church members, and community leaders work together to establish a safe buy-back program. The goal is to provide measures to lower the dangers that are out in our community and at home every day which cause child death due to guns.