To the problem of gun violence
If there is a chance that thoughts and prayers come true, there will be an end to mass shootings in America. But, like most things, it’s going to take work on our part.
The Senate can get off their collective butts and pass the House version of the Universal Background Check. Trump, with whatever minimal clout he may have with Republican senators, can strongly encourage the Senate do so. Even in his waffling, he has stated his willingness to sign that bill. And he did ban bump stocks with an executive order. Even the devil gets something right eventually.
Bring back the Federal ban on assault weapons, both semi-automatic and automatic. Only the military should have access to such fire power. There is no convincing argument for regular citizens to own such weapons. I grew up around hunters. Some people in my extended family still hunt. They taught me to shoot a rifle. Nobody needs anything other than that to hunt with. Period.
The States can all pass Red Flag laws, and the Federal government can follow. I am a psychotherapist. As such, if I suspect homicidal or suicidal planning, and certainly if I hear of it directly, I am both allowed and required to break confidentiality and report it. This is outlined to clients in my Informed Consent To Treat, which they sign.
I used it once, with the client’s permission, to ask parents to remove a weapon from their suicidal child’s room. I used it years before to report a threat to a family, by a gang member I was seeing as part of his parole. He was arrested shortly after for killing a man. I will always report in the case of a shooter telling me his or her plans. Unfortunately, very few of them tell Mental Health professionals what they are planning. But friends and family members are often privy to their social media posts, and can observe the person on a daily basis, versus the once a week I see clients. They are the ideal choice, along with school officials and employers, to warn of potential deadly activity or plans.
None of these solutions will take the guns from the homes of those who have them registered and who own them legally. An assault weapons ban might come close to that, but it isn’t likely unless the owner commits some kind of felony or confesses homicidal plans to a therapist or, in the case of Red Flag laws, a family member.
None of these solutions will hurt members of the NRA. They won’t hurt hunters. They won’t keep you from keeping a gun in your home for protection, even though the majority of those guns have been used to kill or injure someone who lives in the home, not home invaders. Still, in case of home invasion, you can keep your legal gun.
But, please, see reason about assault weapons that should only be accessible to the military. And please understand that while your right to own guns will not be affected, there is a real chance that by enacting all three solutions, normal, everyday Americans going to the mall, to Walmart, to a concert and to school, won’t be shot and killed in mass numbers. Average Americans like you and me. And Senators, who, with the trust we have placed in them, can actually bring these solutions to pass