Monday, February 19, 2018

Defeatist Gun Control Debate

A defeatist attitude ensures policies never change. Improvement in any situation is roadblocked if a policy is already deemed undoable. Too often, the same foreseeable conversations include "thoughts and prayers," while Democrats talk about gun control and mental health screening, the biggest speech is a defeatist one. "Nothing will change."
This Republican Congress won't change anything. Unless we get money out of politics, nothing will change, they say. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers unknowingly provide the same response to every mass gun shooting. Republicans say no gun law could have prevented this shooting and we cannot infringe on other people's rights because of a crazy person. Democratic lawmakers will, and to their credit, do sit-ins on the House floor; provide stirring speeching about humility and caring for one another by funding adequate mental health care measures.

But what's missed is obvious - what could be done to stop the next shooting? In the case of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting, learn from missed warning signs. The shooter had a history of contact with authorities - students and social media users warned authorities about the disturbing behavior of this young man. Cruz purchased a legal AR-15 from a  gun shop. Maybe that's the problem. An 18-year-old kid with a history of mental instability, family issues, a pattern of behavior disturbance and a lack of impulse control should have made the FBI act.

Granted the FBI and law enforcement receive thousands of tips a day; if they had to take everyone seriously, they'd do nothing but chase calls of suspicion every day. However, if a man says he wants to be a school shooter, it needs to be taken at face value.

With this brief information, what can we do to stop the next Nikolas Cruz from shooting up a school?

1). Raise the age required to purchase assault weapons to 21.

2). Make police reports viewable in a database.

3). As part of a background check, question immediate family for signs of disciplinary issues or erratic behavior.

4). Have a database containing the emotionally challenged folks' names.

5). Ban AR-15 rifles or any variation thereof.

6). Ban high-powered capacity magazines.

Too often, the conversation ceases before it begins with people vehemently defending the Second Amendment - hoping the next election cycle the National Rifle Association will remember their cowardliness.
Republicans know Democrats think conservatives won't budge on the issue, so they don't try with common sense solutions. People ask for federal background checks. That's not enough. If a gun control bill comes up the Republican-held majority won't place the bill on the House floor for a vote. If we can't push a bill through, we can change public opinion to force their representatives to vote for measures that make public venues free from mass murder. Changing public opinion scares politicians, who know it's just a matter of time before they lose their seats. So, building consensus on gun control is a multifaceted campaign - none of which work without the other. Protesting, catching media attention & shaming politicians by publically disclosing how much Congressional members receive from the NRA. Hold signs in town halls with your feelings on the NRA. Change public perception on this new generation of school shooting victims. Relate that gun confiscation or gun control is a false choice - no one wants to take guns away. Even banning AR-15 assault style-weapons doesn't mean the government takes weapons because they're grandfathered out. However, no future sales of such weapons would be legal.

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