By PATRICK WOOD
I have a few qualms about John’s article on gun violence. For starters, John states, “We need to pick the best ideas from each party not just choose one party’s solution.” I respectfully disagree. In my view, the only side that has put forth any feasible ideas for reducing rates of gun violence is the progressives within the Democratic Party. The Republican Party, by and large, has accepted the NRA’s “answers” to the problems, which include pushing for concealed or open carry and for armed schoolteachers.
These aren’t serious proposals. And they should not be taken seriously. In fact, if any of these policies are enacted the result is likely an uptick in gun violence. I worry very much when concealed and open carry is discussed because I imagine young people with guns at 2 a.m. intoxicated at local bars or other spots that frequently see altercations between patrons. This is a scenario that is much more likely to end badly than positively.
Arming teachers is a ridiculous idea. If students know there is a gun in every classroom, it is only a matter of time before some devious students succeed in stealing one from a less than diligent teacher, and schools will become stockpiles of weapons and ammunition which to me is quite worrisome. I think it bears mentioning that the NRA (and as a result, its ever faithful Republican Party) used to be much more sensible on guns. The NRA used to support expanded background checks (Source: Politifact.com). Ronald Reagan, of course, pushed for the passage of the Brady Bill and supported an assault weapons ban.
The NRA has realized its enormous power over Republican politicians and even a handful of Democratic ones and has moved itself and the Republican Party far from their previous positions. Our only hope is to enact the measures proposed by progressives:
*Increase funding into firearms research and technology including gun safety to make accidents less frequent (if iPhones can have a fingerprint lock, why not guns?).
*Close the gun show loophole, and require everyone selling firearms at these events, even if they are mere “hobbyists” or “collectors,” to conduct background checks before selling firearms to anyone.
*Close the ridiculous Charleston loophole, which allows firearm purchases to proceed if a background check cannot be completed within three days (I see no problem with this being expanded to at least five days) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we_D3X1Jliw
*Require online sellers of firearms to conduct background checks on purchasers, or be subject to criminal prosecution.