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Citizen's View: Cause of mass shootings always the same: young men with guns

A recent newspaper headline, “State and nation search for answers,” implies that the reason for the mass shooting in Roseburg is a mystery, as though Columbine, Aurora, Newtown, Virginia Tech and Charleston had different causes. The cause, my dear friends, is always the same: a young man with a gun.

Hundreds of people have been murdered in these shootings not by grannies, toddlers, geezers or girls, but by young men. Males between the ages of 13 and 30 commit 85 percent of the homicides; they commit all mass shootings. There’s something in the male gene that compels many men to form gangs, join ISIS, chainsaw forests and employ financial weapons against the poor. Many young men are biologically driven to hurt

others, and given easy access to guns, they’ll kill.

America’s gun laws make it easy. America has the highest gun ownership rate in the world — 88 guns per 100 people. The positive correlation between gun ownership and gun homicides is well documented: Those states with the highest gun ownership have the greatest number of gun homicides. The same is true for countries. Reports CNN, “When it comes to gun massacres, the United States is tragically exceptional: There are more public mass shootings in the United States than in any other country in the world.”

With 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. commits 31 percent of the mass shootings. The NRA’s argument that we could stop gun violence if more men had guns is absolutely false.

What can we do?

First, admit the facts: At the core of all bloodshed worldwide are men with guns.

Then, in this country, restrict men’s access to the frightful objects. Other countries have proven the effectiveness of gun control.

“In Scotland, after Dunblane, in Australia, after Tasmania, in Canada, after the Montreal massacre — in each case the necessary laws were passed to make gun-owning hard,” writes Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, “and in each case ... well, you will note the absence of massacre-condolence speeches made by the Prime Ministers of Canada and Australia, in comparison with our own president.”

As to the constitutionality of gun control, let’s look at the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The two words in this amendment that gun-rights advocates steer us away from time and again are “well regulated.” The framers of the Constitution intended guns and militia to be “well regulated.”

As to the other half of the violence equation — males — let’s make it a felony for any male under a certain age, say 30, to have a gun unless supervised by an

adult female or a male over 30. Similarly, let’s make it a felony for any person to

give a male under that age access to a

gun, whether intentionally or accident-

ally.

Do you think such laws would sober people up? I do. And good Lord, we need some sobriety when it comes to guns. Rationality, not heated rhetoric, saves lives.

You’d be hard pressed to find any rationality in the gun-rights camp, however. In fact, if you want a clear example of “mentally ill,” just mention gun control to a male, concealed-carry gun zealot. Then be prepared to run for your life.

Peter Wright is a resident of Lake Oswego.