The notion that the passage of new laws ends all evil and cures all ills has long been proven to be false. A simple look at the war on drugs clearly shows the failure of laws to end the horrific drug issues in America. More traffic laws do not end speeding and reckless driving. Increased criminal penalties do not end theft, and assaults. Laws to stop hate and racism never cure an evil heart. In the last few decades, we have seen mass murder with firearms, trucks filled with fertilizer and diesel fuel, pressure cookers, mail bombs, planes crashed into buildings, vehicles crashing through crowded parade routes and probably a few methods I have forgotten. Currently we have Congress looking to find new laws to prevent or at least slow horrible crimes with no thought to poor parenting, the failure of schools to protect our most precious gifts and yes, even mental illness.
Clearly ending the 2nd Amendment will never solve the problem, Americans feel so strongly about this issue they will never freely give up the often estimated 800 million privately owned firearms. As a result, Congress forms committees to find solutions while failing to see the real causes and will again pass more laws, pat themselves on the backs and the issues will continue on as if nothing had changed.
Some of the solutions being proposed include Red Flag Laws. These laws could help but can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. Along with red flag laws, legislation must be enacted to protect against false and unwarranted accusations. Another proposal would be to allow the criminal records of minors to be available for those under 21 making firearm purchases. Again, this could help but would require some long legal challenges and could possibly endanger the future of some who honestly made childhood errors of judgment. Another proposal would see long gun purchase age requirements increase from 18 to 21. However, if determined that 18 years of age does not offer guaranteed maturity, then would it also be true to say that less than 21 years of age should also restrict enough of a sound mind to vote, to join the military or to even decide that gender modification would be good health choice for them.
Another thought would be to increase criminal penalties for making straw purchases and providing firearms to those not eligible to possess firearms. Would penalties need to be doubled, tripled or quadrupled? Would increasing criminal penalties ever hinder the actions of a criminal?
Additional changes may include mental health and suicide prevention increasing mental and behavioral health services via telehealth. Seriously, a chat over the phone is a solution to these crimes. My thoughts on solutions start with school boards and superintendents, placing the security and safety of our children above all else, above Superintendent salaries and bonuses, about hiring additional principles or vice-principles, above more sport or extra-curricular activities, before new sport or band uniforms, above another improvement to sports facilities.
Hardening our schools is as easy as hardening our courtrooms or our airports. Try packing even a small pocketknife past metal detectors. Allow concerned school employees to be trained and use defensive measures. Reduce spending by finding cuts and use those savings to hire trained security along with camera and lock down devices in every school without exception. Here are a few more thoughts; as many as a dozen teens per day are killed while texting or using electronic devices, if firearms were really the issue, a few hundred million firearm owners would have begun and ended the subject, The NRA takes no lives and no federal dollars, yet Planned Parenthood takes $500 million annually and an estimated 350,000 lives, background checks are OK and some expansion with restrictions might be better but shouldn’t those same requirements be required for voter registration and voting?
Terry Harper, State Republican Executive Committee Chairman for Senate District 21