No common sense

The administration’s view of “common sense” is at odds with the facts in the current gun debate.

Last January, Greg Ridgeway, Deputy Director for the National Institute of Justice released the “Summary of Select Firearm Violence Prevention Strategies” report addressing “intentional firearm homicides.” Strategies such as “gun buybacks, large capacity magazine restrictions, ammunition logs, universal background checks, target straw purchasers,” require all gun transfers to occur at a federal firearms licensee. Gun registration, an assault weapons ban, and smart guns were targeted.

Discussions for each of these strategies concluded that little impact, if any, would truly be seen in reduced homicides, citing that 73 percent of criminals obtain their firearm either through a “straw purchase” or theft. Additionally, universal background checks do nothing to stop a straw purchase or theft. That being said, perhaps actually enforcing existing laws regarding the possession of stolen guns and straw purchases would be the more “common sense” thing to do.

The report noted “mass killings,” (defined as four or more deaths during an event) are quite rare and make up less than 0.3 percent of all gun homicides. The media has successfully focused us on these tragic and horrific crimes. Unfortunately, none of these killings would have been avoided through “more laws.” Isn’t it common sense for all of us to take a hard look at our culture, including laws concerning the mentally ill? For example, court testimony in the Aurora movie shooting indicates James Holmes was identified as homicidal to the authorities 38 days before his shootings. In Tucson, Jared Loughner should never have passed a background check due to his mental illness and drug use. A poignant remark made by Mark Kelly, the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The administration’s push to restrict law abiding citizens is not “common sense.” Enforcing existing laws and putting criminals in jail is.

Desmond M. Ford is a resident of Hancock.

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