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A Score Card for Proposed Public Safety Gun Laws

April 6, 2013

Do gun laws make us safer?  We can answer that question because social scientists already know the real cure to public violence.  The solution isn’t a mystery and it isn’t complex.  In all the political talk about new safety measures, I have not heard the well known social science solutions incorporated into the proposed laws.  Here is a score card to judge the proposed public safety legislation.  This sorts real solutions from politics as usual.  Sadly, the contrast is that black and white; if the law does not address one of these factors then it is political propaganda designed for the fawning media.  The elite politicians can regulate responsible gun owners, but that legislation is for the political benefit of the politician rather than public safety.  The recently proposed laws I’ve read do nothing to reduce violence because responsible gun owners were never the problem in the first place.  The politician’s political posturing with “public safety gun laws” does nothing to stop the crazies and the criminals who are the real problem.

Here is what really helps.

 Crazy people commit public violence and need help. 

  • Implement and expand a mental health referral system.  We want a mental health system that is easy for the mentally ill to get into.  We also want a system to clear the names of those who were misdiagnosed or are now cured.
  • Enter the mentally ill into a nationwide NICS(1) data base.  Gun dealers, the state department of motor vehicles and the airlines need to be able to identify potentially violent mental health patients in seconds.  Also, install a clearly defined system to clear people entered into the system by mistake.  I know it is hard to imagine that our government makes mistakes, but, sadly, it happens.  We should plan for it.
  • Put the mentally ill into protective care if they are a threat to themselves or others.  If you can’t take care of yourself then you need a minder.  Let us not pretend that this time gun prohibition will somehow keep guns away from the crazy people after gun prohibition has failed to keep guns away from criminals.  Pretending that would be.. crazy.
  • Psychotropic drugs are a significant contributor to public violence.  Until proven otherwise, patients on psychotropic drugs should be treated like the mentally ill.  I’d like to see publicly funded studies determine if these drugs make public violence better or worse.
  • Violent video imagery is a significant contributor to public violence.  Not every gamer is publicly violent.  Almost every case of public violence in young people has a link with violent video games.  I blame parents.
  • Parents help.  Living in a family with the biological father married to the child’s mother is a significant antidote to public violence.  The relationship between parents is an irreplaceable example of treating others with respect.
  • Don’t publicize the names of murderers in the media.  These sad suicidal souls crave the front page and won’t settle for a footnote on the bottom of page 11 which is all they would get if they quietly ended their own life.  We have legal and social precedent in not publishing the names of rape and juvenile victims.
  • Organized sports and outdoor activities help.  We learn that we will win sometimes and loose sometimes.  We learn that lesson on the sports field and the fishing hole.  These games teach us to face disappointment without giving up, going into a rage or planning revenge.  Those lessons are reinforced at all ages.
  • Church and other long term relationships with an authority figure reduce the rate of public violence.  The crazy people think they are little gods.
  • Make schools uninviting targets. For new schools, select the physical design of the campus with security in mind.  There is a long list of things that keep schools from becoming a shooting gallery.
  • There is no substitute for having several armed responders on site whenever children are present.  We already have emergency response teams in many companies and schools.  We can expand that model.
  • Practice drills help.  First response teams should practice together at school and then include law enforcement on campus.  Schools already have fire drills.  It is time the police join in.

No single thing helps as much as all of these things together.  They provide a defense in depth, and it is better to implement a complete but imperfect plan than to wait for perfection.

 Drug gangs commit most gun crimes

  • 7 percent of the gang members commit 70% of the gun crime.  Incarcerate repeat offenders to reduce public gun violence.
  • Jobs rob gangs of manpower.  Improving the economy, eliminating minimum wage labor laws, and reducing barriers to business formation will give us safer communities. 
  • End drug prohibition to rob gangs of money.
  • Stop subsidizing fatherlessness and single mothers with welfare policy.  Children should not be state funded meal tickets for failed adults.
  • Enforce standards for parental negligence and remove children from failing parents.

I told you public safety solutions were simple, but I never said they were politically easy.  Have you read any of the recently proposed public safety laws that do these simple things?  I have not.  That is why I remain skeptical of the goals the politicians claim for their legislation.  They might call it public safety legislation, but it is politicians whoring for money and publicity unless it actually makes us safer.

Are politicians out to save lives or secure votes?

(1) the National Instant criminal background Check System


This took a while to write, so please throw me a bone with a Like, Share, Rate or Comment.


Rob, who needs simple rules for his simple mind

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2013 6:47 am

    Home run! Congratulations, you succinctly put into words what takes me hours to explain on my show.


  2. April 6, 2013 7:25 am

    PnG, the reason is simple. I had time and you didn’t.

    “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” — Mark Twain


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