To the grieving families of Parkland, Florida to know the murderer who killed their kids had bought his assault weapon LEGALLY!
Or that the FBI twice failed to follow up on tips as to who he was some months before this tragedy,
Or the state agency responsible for children checked the confessed killer several times and decided he was not a “risk.”
Or that the county sheriff’s office had checked his new home 20 times without informing any other agency of his possible risk.
Or that once again, a “mental health case” (as in Virginia, Sandy Hook, Aurora,Col., Benton, Ky., Riverside, Cal—and most likely several other cases) was involved—with their records never reaching the correct agency that might have stopped him.
Gun Rights advocates will tell us; "See, if the laws on the books were properly enforced we would have nailed this guy sooner.”
I beg to differ.
The government agencies involved—whether federal or state—have had these laws on the books for years, and still this happens, and happens etc. Some plead “it slipped thru the cracks”—as in the Air Force’s failure to list that Texas church shooter was ineligible to buy such weapons; many states plead insufficient funds to staff their agencies responsible (also heard on the federal level)—and we in Kentucky know about that retort; some just don’t agree, especially in the mental health field where privacy and the right treatment might be set back by registering these unfortunate people.
The last I heard even the NRA agreed that some “mental health cases” should not be allowed to buy guns. But, have you seen the NRA lobbying on the state or federal level for more funds, more staff for these agencies?
Look, I support the 2nd Amendment, although my reading of it is not the same as the Supreme Court. I believe in rifle clubs, (I joined one in college—at a Quaker school!), shooting competitions, hunting, home protection, etc...but when did sportsmen need an AK47 to take down squirrels, deer, even bears???
There are things that can, and should be done, which will NOT risk bringing up arguments over the 2nd Amendment and polls show a majority (even within the NRA membership) support these general approaches:
Universal background checks for buying certain guns, and that includes ending the gun show loophole (totally illogical and I believe favors large chain sales firms over local gun stores.)
A uniform federal reporting form to report mental health cases and others unsuited to buy weapons, and stiffer requirements for states to make these reports, with fines for inaction.
Those on the “No fly” list should not be allowed to buy weapons, BUT an appeals process MUST be instituted here. (Remember Sen. Ted Kennedy was once on such a list!)
More and better classes on gun safety in schools or thru other local agencies. Here the NRA can contribute much.
I would like to add ending the sales of “bump stops,” a device that makes a machine gun out of merely a fast firing rifle; lower magazine capacities (30 rounds to get a deer?) and other restrictions of assault rifle sales (these actually were in place once, after White house press secretary Jim Brady got shot but were allowed to expire, ) but these raise 2nd Amendment rights arguments in some minds; not mine.
So let us concentrate on things I suspect most of us agree on, and which the NRA might be forced to grudgingly support. (as it continues to give out MILLION$ to some senators: $6 and $7 millions to two senators who lead the list. Think they will be concerned about the needless deaths in Parkland??)
Til that day when the “better angels” of our nature are truly ready to grapple with this issue, let these common sense approaches prevail; knowing that even with these small steps another Las Vegas or Columbine WILL happen and there will be more grieving families as there are today in Parkland.
I'm just sayin'...