Preventing Mass Murder

Kid with gun.Due to the mass murders that happen with appalling frequency here in America, I believe this nation needs people with self-control more than it needs infringements on the Second Amendment. Mass murder is committed by people, not guns. A loaded firearm, when placed on a table and left alone, will not spring to life and start shooting people spontaneously. It takes a person afflicted by some kind of mental dysfunction to intentionally commit human slaughter. Gun control will not affect the millions of guns that already exist, it will not affect the purchase of guns and ammunition through illegal means, and it will not stop those with murderous intent from bringing death to others through shooting or by other means. Accordingly, gun control by itself will not save lives as those who want to kill will always find a way to commit murder, yet something must be done to stop the mass killings that plague our nation.

President Trump favors the elimination of “bump stocks” and raising the age limit for gun ownership as forms of gun control, but such measures will not result in safer schools as they address the tools and not the people who would use those tools maliciously. Accordingly, no gun control measure will result in safer schools or a safer society. The president also champions the arming of teachers to oppose school shooters, but I can only wonder how such an effort would work in regards to religious institutions. Will we see teaching staffs consisting of armed Christian priests and nuns, Jewish rabbis, and Muslim imams? Would arming them violate religious doctrines? Also, aren’t there areas of concern in addition to schools and threats other than guns? Parks and playgrounds, shopping malls, houses of worship, restaurants, theaters, buses, and more are all prime targets for persons with murderous intent. Indeed, a review of the last 60 years of international history shows that people within all of the preceding locales were targeted by mass-murderers at one time or another through means other than guns alone.

Let’s keep in mind that the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1st, 2017, happened at a concert, not a school. Let’s also not forget that the most devastating act of post-WWII terrorism performed by Americans was the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19th, 1995, that resulted in the loss of 168 men, women, and children. The killers did not use a single gun. And if we look back to the 1970s and 1980s, the home-grown FALN committed terrorist acts in New York City and Chicago largely through the use of bombs, while guns played just a secondary role. Clearly, there is a need to ensure that persons who have legal access to guns and explosives have verifiable self-control in order to prevent mass murders and identify those who would commit atrocities.

I support calls for much stronger background checks, the elimination of all purchase and ownership loopholes, and truly deep psychological evaluations for first-time buyers of guns and explosives. Additionally, I support calls for the periodic re-screening of all gun owners and of those persons associated with explosives. It’s a given that organizations in support of unfettered gun ownership and those in support of demolition concerns would likely oppose such ideas, but I see no other solutions at this time. Moreover, these ideas honor the Second Amendment by keeping guns in the possession of stable, law-abiding citizens. Conversely, options such as limiting the capacity of bullet magazines are pointless as unstable gunmen such as Colin Ferguson and Dylann Roof bought common handguns—not assault weapons or guns with high-capacity magazines—and they used their handguns to commit mass murders. A thorough screening of the two in accordance with the above could have revealed their warped natures and prevented two shocking tragedies.

In closing, I remain convinced that the best way of ensuring the proper use of guns and explosive materials is to limit their access to only those persons who’ve proven their competence and discipline in an environment free of loopholes. Thorough psychological screening could reduce the possibility that another Nicholas Cruz or Timothy McVeigh would be able to take innocent lives, thus making our society a much safer one. Action must be taken to protect our people from random slaughter, and enacting the above suggestions would be a step towards the reduction or the actual elimination of mass murder in America.

All the best,
-Keith V.

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