School shooting

Update on outcomes of school shooting legislation

Guns, Politics

We are approaching eight months since the school shooting incident at Parkland during which 17 people were shot and killed inside a school. A couple months later, a shooting at Santa Fe High School resulted in 10 deaths.

As is often the case, there was a screaming match about what to do. Should you limit guns? Should you focus on mental health? But, as is often the case, nothing has happened.

School shooting bills

As far as actual legislation, nothing seems to happen.

School shootingsAfter the shootings earlier in 2018, I wrote to my U.S. Senators – Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker – and offered what I thought were – as a gun owner myself – common sense approaches to guns.

My suggestions were rejected out of hand in two responses that focused on mental health. While there should be a focus on mental health, where is the law?

Sen. Alexander wrote that he introduced the School Safety and Mental Health Services Improvement Act on March 7, 2018. As of September 30, this bill has not even passed committee.

Another bill, the STOP School Violence Act passed the House of Representatives in a bi-partisan vote. It was then introduced to the Senate with 43 cosponsors (including Sen. Alexander and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). Of those 43 cosponsors, it was a pretty bipartisan bunch – 25 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and one Independent.

Why have these bills, which focus on mental health, which the Republicans prefer to focus on, but had the backing of Democrats as well, not passed?

What’s the hold up?

State’s rights

On October 1, 2017, a shooter in Las Vegas fired into a crowd from a hotel room, killing 58 and injuring 851.

Afterward, there was a lot of talk about bump stocks, which in some cases, and essentially convert a gun to fully-automatic (fully-automatic is illegal in most instances in the United States).

Event the National Rifle Association, which opposes a ban, said, “devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”

President Trump ordered the Justice Department in March to look into a ban on bump stocks, and the public comment on the proposal was to end in July. However, at the federal level nothing as been done since.

Across the country, a number of states have passed laws to ban bump stocks and place other restrictions on guns, and the NRA has sued the State of Florida over its most recent laws.

Maybe that is where the gun control fight is going to take place. Congress has no stomach to debate and try to come up with, well, anything to address school shootings or greater gun issues.

At least the states can do what they individually feel is best, providing Congressmen valuable cover from what I fear is an overly powerful National Rifle Association.

Where I come from

I am sort of in the middle of conservative and liberal. Not really moderate, my ideology swings on the issue. I am a gun owner, a military veteran, and a former federal law enforcement office. I take a Hamiltonian view on gun ownership and gun rights.

Here’s what I’d like to see on guns.

  1. Background checks on any and all formal gun sales, be they stores, gun shows, etc. I have at gun shows witnessed the sale of guns without the exchange of so much as a name.
  2. Private party guns must be reported to a database.
  3. Banning of high-capacity magazines and maintenance of the ban on automatic weapons and ammunition like armor-piercing rounds.
  4. Lift limits on the ability of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms so that ATF can actually do its jobs.
  5. Stop stupid state laws. Both sides have them. They accomplish nothing.

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