Letter to the Editor: Let’s prevent gun murder

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Dear Editor:

I’ve heard the suspect in the recent SPU shootings was a student at Edmonds Homeschool Resource Center, now known as Edmonds Heights, where my children have attended school since fall of 2003. The shooter’s two years older than my oldest daughter. They went to school together.

I have to ask: how many more kids have to die before people start taking proactive steps to reduce gun violence? Unlike cars, a gun’s sole purpose is violence.

In my opinion, our state can implement a two-step solution.

Many domestic mass shooters are mentally unstable. Therefore, every gun owner should be required to pass a mental health background check. There’s support for this in Washington’s Family Law. Currently, CPS can remove children from their parent’s home, if their mental instability creates a danger to their children.

Law enforcement and the military both require mental health background checks before a soldier or police officer is allowed to access weapon arsenals. Our police and military understand the threat the mentally unstable can pose, if allowed access to firearms. They require mental health background checks…we should too.

As a society, we’ve recognized the danger of a motor vehicle. Before someone is allowed firearm ownership, they should be required to pass a safety and proficiency test, just like when driving a car. Also, soldiers and police are required to pass safety and proficiency tests, before they’re allowed to carry guns. Gun owners should be required to pass similar tests.

If we want to stop gun violence, the solution is to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable and those without training. If these common sense checks and balances had been in place a decade ago, how many children would have been saved?

Respectfully,
Bob Lewis

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Respectfully Bob, Any legal gun owner has already gone through background checks when they go to buy their gun or get a concealed weapons permit. While I understand your frustration the only thing rules like this do is keep the honest people honest. Criminals will still get guns. Those that think otherwise are just fooling themselves. My heart breaks for those this tragic event has struck.




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  2. Margaret-private gun owners/sellers DO NOT do background checks on prospective gun buyers, i.e. at gun shows, etc. That’s the problem.




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    • Your example holds little to no validity, Example – those Private car owners/sellers should do background checks on the prospective car buyers to see if they have had any DWI’s or killed/hurt someone while driving a car? Before they sell to them. Let’s fix the real problem and that is to get those the help they need when they are Mentally ill instead of releasing them back into the general public. Seems to me this man was reaching out and our system let him down.




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  3. This is like a kid throwing a rock through a window and you get mad at the rock, Bob. Can you please explain why you want to bring such violence to our streets? After all, the more gun restriction, the higher the violence rates — it’s fact. See Chicago, Washington DC, etc. So tell us, Bob, why do you want to bring even more violence to our streets?




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  4. Bob, thank you for speaking out on this hot-button and very complex issue. I agree completely with the points you make.

    We need to ensure that our mental health networks are adequately funded and equipped to truly help the mentally ill–not just prescribe psychoactive medications in the hopes patients will comply and continue taking their meds. Our mental health system, including schools and local communities (us– families and neighbors) must be more vigilant and proactive. After yet another firearms tragedy, how many times has someone said: “But he/she never caused any trouble.” “They were real quiet and polite, kept to themselves.” But did they truly get to know the perpetrator or was this simply a surface assessment? We can’t live in a bubble, folks; we’re all in this together, one way or another.

    I think the biggest culprit in our increasingly sick society is its glorification of gun violence. Now, I’m not by any means advocating across-the-board censorship here, simply some common sense and balance. So I ask: Have you noticed the proliferation of blatant depictions of weapons and violence on movie and game promotion artwork? Count the guns. Hey–it’s cool to blast someone! Yeah–kill ’em! But why glamorize casually offing someone? Doesn’t it provide to some a rationale for real-life acting out? I am convinced that those fragile, unstable and alienated individuals who struggle to fit into our social fabric but lack mental and emotional support and healthy coping skills are most vulnerable to this insidious influence. If our families can’t provide this, then an expanded and revamped mental health system can.




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  5. Rather than emotionally reacting to a tragedy, we might consider thinking about effective solutions. In places where gun laws are most restrictive violence increases. Instead of restricting access to a constitutionally protected right, perhaps we should focus on criminals and mental health needs in our community? Don’t blame the object, recognize the responsibility of the criminal and the obligation our community has to identify and help them?




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