My View: It's time for common-sense gun reform
Common sense gun reform will not happen because people take either an emotional resistance to "take away my guns" or offer shallow, feel good platitudes, begging for "common sense gun reform" — whatever that might be. There were several examples in letters and one essay in the March 1, edition.
However, some proposals make sense.
1) Tighten the background check system (called NCIS). Actually, most transactions, whether at a retail store or a gun show do require background checks. Most sales at a gun show are by licensed dealers and require a background check. But just make it simple. If cash changes hands, at a store, gun show, want ad, nickel ad, personal sale, a background check is required. Understand, Steve Novick referenced a very small study of 99 people in jail for firearm crimes and only two had bought their guns from dealers so you understand the tightest background check will only do so much.
2) What really has to change are health privacy laws which would allow reporting to NICS those committed or treated or restricted by authorities because of mental instability. Jared Loughler, who shot Gabby Gifford, killed six and wounded 13 in Tucson in 2011 was so obviously unstable that he was barred from his college campus as a danger to himself and others. By the way, he did not use a weapon of war (AR-15), but a pistol. The identification and listing of those suffering serious mental issues must be addressed legislatively on a national and regional level.
3) Hint, hint to the extraordinary leadership of Sherriff Scott Israel...if you are called 39 times to one individual, he might need help.
4) Domestic violence is an early warning for intervention. In Alaska — quite a 'gun friendly' state — a person accused of domestic violence will receive a visit from local law enforcement who confiscates all firearms. This should not be restricted to spouses but to partners, romantic partners and stalkers. But it must be administered very carefully. Unbelievable as it sounds, in a bitter breakup of a relationship, sometimes false accusations occur.
5) Raise the age to 21 to buy any firearm. Eye wash, pure and simple. This is simply an escape route for politicians to say they did something on their run for reelection. Kip Kinkle was not deterred from a school shooting nor were the Columbine shooters. Finally, there is some inconsistency in requiring one to be 21 years of age (maturity?) to purchase a firearm, but only 18 to vote or enlist in the military where they will be trained on (OMG!) the AR-15 variant.
6) Ban the AR-15. I worked in sales most of my civilian career. One sales manager had a saying, "Fish where the fish are". If you want to start banning firearms, first study F.B.I. Violent Crime Statistic for 1, 5 or 10 years. You will find that 80 percent of firearms murders are by....handguns. In fact, usually twice as many people are beaten to death (Fists, feet or Hands) than are murdered by ALL rifles combined. Further to make a ban effective there must be confiscation (Don't take my gun!) Steve Novick was correct on that. The previous 'assault weapon' ban failed because a) it was aimed at rifles, not hand guns, and b) because there was no confiscation. Mr Novick cited Australia for a ban and confiscation. In 2001 the ban took effect and Australia confiscated and reimbursed citizens for 695,940 guns. They repeated the turn-in and reimbursement in 2003 and confiscated 68,727 firearms. In comparison, it is estimated that there are 5,000,000 AR-15 variants in private hands in the U.S., over 11,000,000 Remington 870 shotguns (banned in Australia) and over 300,000,000 million total firearms in the U.S. in private hands. Finally, one reason for the popularity of the AR-15 is not only that it is a light recoil, light weight semi-automatic rifle but that it has been the primary rifle of all the U.S. military for over 50 years. So anyone that has joined the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard over that period has been trained on the AR-15. Consequently, it is used recreationally in shooting matches every weekend across the U.S. and in National accuracy matches annually.
Ms Kriss Voss-Rothmeir poo pooed the idea that good guys with a gun stop bad guys with a gun. 'Not in Texas. Not in Oregon"With no research on my part I would remind Chris that the contrary happened in Texas in the church shooting and in Oregon in the Clackamas town center shooting,
In conclusion, what is needed is not smart guns but smart legislators willing to research problems and dialogue honestly.
Larry Sitter is retired and lives in Rock Creek; he can be reached at 503-206-9651