Monday, 15 April 2013

Senate's watered down gun bill

Senate's watered down gun bill, Since the Dec. 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., where 20-year-old misanthrope Adam Lanza killed 26 children and bystanders, Congress has agonized about fashioning some kind of gun control legislation to prevent another incident.

Despite all the research to the contrary, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President 64-yer-old Wayne LaPierre insists that no new legislation would have prevented Sandy Hook or any future incident.

LaPierre’s answer to gun violence is arming more folks with guns, especially school teachers faced with the unenviable task of protecting children against ballistic killers. Since last year’s incident, the NRA has waged a fierce campaign to protect the Second Amendment, but, more importantly, gun retailers, manufacturers and consumers that maintain a multibillion-dollar firearm’s industry.

LaPierre’s probably right that no one can prevent all future incidents involving negligent and criminal firearm use. Where the NRA goes off the rails is about the profusion of firearms now responsible for almost 32,000 yearly deaths in the United States, only about a thousand or so less than vehicular homicides.

With objections to new gun control legislation led by the NRA hitting a fever’s pitch, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) doubts whether any new bill would make it through the House. Despite the Sandy Hook tragedy, gun advocates refuse to tighten regulations regarding firearms’ purchases at gun shows or on the Internet.

Senate sponsors led by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Vir.) seek only to extend Department of Justice background checks to gun shows and the Internet, something that won’t prevent too many deaths.

When you examine recent ballistic mass murders with firearms, the one variable that the killers have in common is their mental illness. All are misanthropes, unable to fit or function in society’s social structures.

Toomey and Manchin’s proposal has nothing about mental health background checks, only the kinds of criminal records that come in in DOJ background checks. Because Lanza used his mother’s handgun and rifle arsenal to murder her and 25 other innocent victims Dec. 14, 2012, background checks at gun shows or Internet sales would have no effect.

While it’s difficult to get mental health background checks, the new bill must try to evaluate gun buyers’ mental health history or risk being useless.

While it’s better than nothing, DOJ checks at gun shows or Internet sales at least give the same protection as retailers. Congress must figure out how to keep guns away from the mentally ill.

Shooting Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) in the head and killing six others Jan. 8, 2011 in Tucson, Ariz., 22-year-old misanthrope Jared Lee Loughner used legally acquired firearms to commit mass murder.

Opening fire July 20, 2012 in packed opening night screening in Aurora, Colo. at the Batman premier killing 12 and injuring 58, 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes also obtained his firearms while being nuttier-than-a-fruitcake.

Whatever the differences among ballistic killers, they’re all misanthropes with serious mental illness. Whether that makes them legally “insane” is anyone’s guess. What rings true in performing any effective background check is a thorough mental health history.

Mental health history from the insurance industry’s Medical Information Bureau must be part of any complete background check. Using only DOJ records doesn’t give enough pertinent information..

Requiring background checks at gun shows and Intenet sales provide the same information currently as retail gun shops. Researchers find that preventing gun deaths involves keeping guns out of the hands of irresponsible gun operators.

In the case of Lanza, his mother, Nancy, didn’t make sure here guns were secure from her mentally ill son. Apart from background checks, Congress must assure in any effective legislation that gun owners make special efforts to lock up registered handguns and rifles.

Giving her mentally ill son Adam full access to her guns, his 52-year-old mother helped assure her own untimely death. Had she locked up her firearms, it’s less likely Adam would have had access to lethal weapons.

If researchers on gun violence have found anything useful, it’s that the more accessible guns, the more likely they’ll cause accidental or deliberate deaths.

If there’s one certainty in the whole gun control debate, the NRA’s dead wrong that arming more people will reduce gun violence.

Gun violence researchers all agree that accessibility to guns increase chances of gun violence, no matter how responsible or well-trained gun owners.

Providing some way to ascertain mental health history in background checks should add a new dimension to standard DOJ protocols.

Increasing civil and criminal liability to registered gun owners to secure their weapons would also go a long way in keeping guns away from mentally ill or dangerous gun uses.

Following the NRA’s suggestion of arming more folks only leads to more accidental and deliberate gun-related deaths and injuries.

Boehner and other conservatives in the House must take the Senate bill seriously before dismissing a new gun bill as an attack of the Second Amendment.

No comments:

Post a Comment