Elon Musk endorses tight background checks on gun buyers: report

This is another article that has a high potential for generating the type of arguments that get these threads locked.

Before that happens, I want to inject some objective thoughts into the emotional situation. In doing so, I am not immune to the emotions involved. But, this has been going on for a very long time now, and I am concerned that the emotions have become political tools that both parties use in ways that are not addressing the reality of these and related tragedies.

So, first I want to note that, shocking as these individual events are, they are not even the majority of the murders by gun that occur on even just the days when these tragedies occur. On the average day in the U.S. , about 55 people are killed by gunfire, excluding suicides. And about 67 additional deaths are suicides using guns. And, there are many other murders and suicides by means other than guns, which are no less tragic.

So, this is a far bigger problem than just what happens in "mass shootings" and we need to address it in light of that. While there are actions that can and should be taken to better protect children in schools, there are far more people being killed outside of schools, And, those are not all due to the same cause - there are many problems that lead to murders and suicides, and taking just the subsets of those that involve guns is not going to stop most of them.

"Gun control" has long been a favorite mantra of politicians, for and against, because it can be used as a "wedge issue" to gain votes (in both directions) and it is cheap to pass a law, compared to doing the other things that can help suppress crime. But, looking at the gun laws that Mexico adopted decades ago, which are so restrictive that regular citizens are effectively denied gun ownership, we can see that those laws have not stopped Mexico from having an even higher murder rate per capita than the U.S. So, we need to look for better solutions here.

The real need is for better "people control". Not in the sense of totalitarian government, but in the sense of better identification of dangerous individuals and early interventions. That is already beginning to be implemented in some cities, like Washington D.C. It can address the murders from gang disputes as well as crimes on innocents and suicides. But, it is not cheap. And it is not a substitute for police presence and actions.

One thing to note is that most of the mass murders are being carried out by people under 21 years of age, particularly those in schools. Returning the legal age limit for owning fire arms to 21 would probably be useful. It was set at 21 until the 1960s, when there was a push to let people over 18 vote, and drink alcohol, and buy guns.

And, holding parents responsible for minors in their charge who obtain guns and use them to commit crimes would be one way to address the situations like what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We need parents/guardians to have more incentive to make sure that their children are supervised and, if necessary, identified for outside help in keeping them from becoming dangerous to others.

Several states are passing "red flag laws" that allow citizens to report threatening behaviors and have firearms temporarily taken from those who a judge agrees are threats. While this is a potentially slippery slope due to the varying discretion of individual judges, it seems that laws are being developed and passed that limit the potential abuses sufficiently to get legislative passage.

But, we have to recognize that any real solutions are necessarily continuing processes. We can't just pass another law and be done with it. We will need to continue to fund solutions that are successful, while recognizing that no society is completely "safe".

Surely, we can make ourselves safer if we objectively evaluate and consider ways to deal with why these crimes are being committed, in addition to how they are committed.


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