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Enough is Enough

I am a life-long professional educator – first as a classroom teacher, then as a school counselor, finally as a school administrator. My job was to educate children.

I also was in the military where I was trained, for eight weeks, to fire weapons capable of killing people.

The two occupations are separate and should be. Therefore, I oppose the calls to arm educators.  I would not want my children or grandchildren to be in a classroom with an armed educator who had minimal firearms training. Army qualifications with weapons take 6-8 weeks and shooting at paper targets is different from shooting at people.

The tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has caused knee-jerk reactions from the President on down to Wayne La Pierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association who said, they are coming for your guns.” I am a die-hard believer in the 2nd Amendment and support it.

The F.B. I’s “School Shooter Report” states that well over 70 percent of all school shooters were bullied. Nikolas Cruz, the alleged shooter in Parkland, Florida was bullied according to the Miami Herald.

The problem is that it is not a mental health issue (although mental health does play a role. Most mentally ill people do not kill people.) It is not always a drug problem.  Critics are saying that his parents should have done more. Nikolas Cruz is an orphan – his father died when he was 7 and his mother died recently from the flu. He was being taken care of by a family friend who had notified the police of his despondency.

Pure and simple, it is the availability of guns in the United States. According to Child Trends, “In the United States, 30 percent of of deaths among young men ages 15 to 19 can be attributed to gun violence. This is significantly higher than the percentage of young men who died in motor vehicles (23 percent)”.

We license drivers because cars can kill people. Don’t you think we should license owners of military weapons? I did not hear Mr. La Pierre complain about the infringement of his rights when seat belts were required in cars. Is my inability to purchase a hand grenade or an AT4 Rocket launcher an infringement of my rights?

Here is what I propose:

  • Universal gun registry so that a state which bans the purchase of weapons would know which people in other states had bought one. After 26 children and educators were killed in 5 in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, the legislature imposed stricter gun laws. But weapons still come from across state borders came to Connecticut.
  • A mandatory waiting period to purchase guns so that criminal and mental health records could be checked.
  • The banning of the sale of military weapons (AK 47 and M16 for example) to non-law enforcement people.
  • Banning the sale of high velocity bullets except to law enforcement. Hopefully, that will protect the people who are protecting us.
  • Banning the production of high capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Congress banned the sale and allowed the law to expire. It is believed that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Shooter, fired 155 rounds in less than five minutes.
  • Ban bump stocks.
  • No one under the age of 21 should be able to purchase a rifle.
  • Banning people who are on the no-fly list and those convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing weapons. Oregon has just done that.
  • Mandatory background checks at gun shows and for private gun sales.
  • Repeal of the Dickey Amendment which says that the Centers for Disease Control’s funds cannot be used to advocate for gun control.
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to track gun sales, and keep the data it collects electronically and also searchable. At present, it is prevented from doing so.
  • Congress is unable or unwilling to take any action. Action must be taken at the state level by governors and state legislatures.
  • Governors can use retired police officers as school security.

 

My proposals are not perfect, but if they save one life…

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