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Resist the rush to gun control. Mass shootings are complicated, so are solutions – Press Telegram

Understandably, the mass shootings horrify everyone.

It is a shame that the United States, ostensibly the most advanced nation on Earth, can be such a violent place full of so many people capable of committing such horrible acts.

And it is frustrating that there are no clear and simple solutions to the problem of mass shootings or mass violence in general.

But that is the situation we are in, because we are talking about a complicated problem with complicated and imperfect solutions.

We also live in the world as it is, with legal, political, and practical limitations.

We live in a country with literally more guns than people and a constitutional right to have a gun if you are an adult. Consequently, we can and must dispense with any idea that eliminating the right to own weapons or eliminating those more than 400 million weapons are viable options. Someday, far into the future, when we are all forgotten, this may be possible, but here in 2022, with the interest in stopping mass shootings, such notions are useless to entertain. (Of course, those are the extremes of where some people go).

We must also be aware that laws have their limits. While the most recent mass shootings took place in Texas, which has lax weapons laws, mass shootings take place here in California, which also has strict gun laws. In 2015, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler evaluated a statement by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio that the proposed gun laws would not prevent “major shootings that have occurred in this country in recent months or years.” ”. Breaking down the facts of 12 mass shootings between 2012 and 2015, Kessler determined that, in fact, “Rubio’s statement resists scrutiny.”

This is because in many cases of mass shootings, the weapons used were legally purchased by people with nothing that could reasonably appear in a background check to stop them. In some cases, the proposed arms bans would not cover the weapons used. And in other cases, existing laws should prevent shootings if not for people who broke the law (stealing weapons or buying weapons for others) or making mistakes (including administrative mistakes that allow people to buy weapons they shouldn’t be able to buy). .

Again, the laws have limits and each individual mass shooting is complicated when you look closely at particular facts.

The National Institute of Justice issued a report in February this year assessing 172 mass public shootings in the US. UU. between 1966 and 2019, discovering “more than 150 variables of psychosocial history, such as the mental health history of those people, past trauma, interest in the past.” shootings and situational triggers “.

Although “assault weapons” and what to do with them receive most of the political focus, the report notes that more than 77% of shootings involved the use of weapons. Only 25% involved the use of assault rifles. In addition, of the cases in which the shooters are known to have obtained their weapons, 77% acquired at least some of their weapons legally and 13% illegally acquired their weapons.

Red flag laws

Perhaps most critical is that the NIJ report concludes that “almost all people involved in mass shootings were in a state of crisis in the days or weeks prior to the shooting.”

This last point may indicate an opportunity for carefully crafted “red flag laws,” which allow law enforcement, with a court order, to seize the weapons of people who consider themselves a threat to themselves or others. But again, the laws have limits and even the left wing of the American Civil Liberties Union warns that: “To be constitutional … [red-flag laws] it must have at least clear and non-discriminatory criteria for defining people as dangerous and a fair process for those affected to object and be heard by a court ”.

New York has a red flag law on the books and has yet to stop the Buffalo mass shooter. Months before buying a gun, police referred him for a psychiatric evaluation after reporting a threat he made to his school (which he said was just a joke). But that neither appeared in his background check nor was he invoked by anyone to try to seize his weapon, apparently since the threats were “general” and a mere assessment is not enough to appear in a record.

“The very concept of ‘red flags’ assumes that experts can reliably distinguish between rare harmless and future killers. But there is little basis for that assumption,” writes Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine, who argues that red flag laws are far from being a panacea and they risk the civil liberties of people who just say strange things.

The mass shooter from Uvalde, Texas, has been described by virtually everyone as a stranger, as someone who would cut his face with a knife and try to physically fight at random. He also reportedly sent messages on social media stating what he planned to do to someone in Germany, who did not respond to the messages until the shooting had already taken place. Texas does not have a red flag law and it is not obvious that it could have been invoked in time to stop it. It is also hard to imagine a law passing a constitutional meeting that could stop strangers fighting with people and prevent them from exercising their constitutional right to own a weapon without having an official role.

Prohibitions on weapons

So if the vast majority of people who have committed mass shootings have bought their weapons legally and could approve any currently designed background check system, we are talking about guns again.

Should certain types of weapons be banned? On what basis? Should we ban the most commonly used types of weapons in mass shootings, pistols? Are we just talking about future sales? What about the hundreds of millions of guns in circulation?

The United States has previously banned certain assault weapons, but the evidence for their effectiveness is, at best, mixed. In 1999, the National Institute of Justice reported: “The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple shooting victims.” In a review of evidence from particular gun control measures, Kessler of the Washington Post recently cited a 2016 study by Emma Fridel of Northwestern University evaluating the 1994-2004 assault weapons ban that found that “the frequency of incidents is virtually non-existent. changed during the decade in which the ban was in effect “and that” not only were there countless assault weapons already on the street, but the assailants had other powerful firearms at their disposal. “

So what am I saying?

I imagine someone reading what I’ve read so far and saying I’m just looking for reasons to oppose doing anything.

But, no, that’s not it. I think there are some things that can be done.

On the one hand, governments should ensure that their existing laws are complied with. If we have background checks in the books, we make sure that they prevent people from purchasing weapons that they should not be able to buy. Likewise, if there are people known to have weapons who should not have them, governments should disarm those people. California has an Armed Forbidden System with thousands of people, and while it is far from perfect, it is a starting point.

Secondly, I have no problem with a carefully crafted red flag law. California already has one in the books. There are obvious limitations and problems, as mentioned above, but, yes, people in crisis and those who threaten others should not have weapons.

Resist the rush to gun control. Mass shootings are complicated, so are solutions – Press Telegram Source link Resist the rush to gun control. Mass shootings are complicated, so are solutions – Press Telegram

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