Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Some Ideas to Help Prevent Mass Shootings and Gun Crimes

All people are rightly concerned over the school and venue shootings in recent times. We want to do something that will reduce or eliminate these tragedies. Similarly, many violent crimes like robbery are committed with guns. Here are a few ideas that together should help reduce these horrors.

1. Require gun owners to have gun safes. When someone wants to buy a gun, a proof of ownership of a gun safe large enough to house the gun must be presented, or a new safe must be purchased at the same time. A typical handgun costs about $500, and a rifle can cost from $500 to $1500. Small, portable gun safes could be prohibited, requiring the ownership of large safes fixed to the ground. These large safes cost from $750 to $2500, so on the lower end, a large, fixed safe is only about the price of a single gun. Many states have some kind of safe gun storage law already. Beefing them up to a large gun safe should improve things even more.
A. Children and mentally ill household members would not have access to the guns. Nor would visitors to the house (repairmen, housekeepers, guests).
B. Since many gun crimes involve the use of stolen weapons, a large gun safe bolted to the floor would keep those guns from entering the black market through a burglary.

2. Arm and train venue staff and school staff and faculty. Nothing deters gun crime, especially mass shooters, as much as knowing that they would meet armed resistance. Not every faculty or staff member needs to be armed; just enough to present the sense of safety and vigilance.  Latched holsters would prevent others from grabbing the weapon from the staff member.
A. Schools and entertainment organizations cannot afford to hire dozens of policemen working off duty, nor can municipalities afford to assign them to schools as an on-duty shift. But giving staff the necessary safety and use training would provide almost the same benefit.
A. What about the risk of being shot accidentally? The recent risk of being shot and killed accidentally is about 1 in 646,000; of being murdered by a gunman is about 1 in 29,000, and for context, the risk of dying in an automobile accident  is about 1 in 8,000.

3. Reascend to virtue training in the schools. The school system used to teach the virtues of kindness, compassion, respect for others, the value of human life, generosity, and many others. Certainly these are not so controversial that students can't be allowed to learn them.
A. If students learned to respect everyone else, there should be fewer disgruntled kids shooting their teachers and classmates.
B. As a bonus benefit, there should be less racism, sexism, classism, etc. as students celebrated their common humanity and the values that underlie that.

4. Improve mental health practices. This is the elephant in the living room. No one wants to talk about the millions of mentally ill people being ignored by everyone, especially the healthcare system. Most of the mentally ill are harmless, but a tiny few can be dangerous. Mental health laws need to be revised to allow for treating and monitoring persons with an identifiable illness--bipolar, schizophrenia), and, when necessary, medicated.

5. Connect the buyers database with  lists of known criminals, suspected terrorists, and people who have come to the attention of the authorities as potential threats. The list might be set up to include a large number of people, but they wouldn't necessarily be prohibited from buying or owning a gun. They would simply be subjected to additional scrutiny before being cleared.

6. Encourage Hollywood and video game makers to stop glorifying guns and first person shooter games. These entertainments produce heartless children who have no feelings toward those they kill.