Even peaceful Switzerland is reeling from mass murders, and voters are demanding change. Public-health research on firearm deaths is notoriously inconclusive, but it’s safe to say that more guns make for more bodies: High firearm-death rates (totaling suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths) correlate with high levels of gun ownership, at least among countries belonging to the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The link between gun ownership and gun murderis fuzzier: Gun-loving Finland has more than twice as many firearms as Portugal, but the Finns have only half as many gun murders per capita. Income, development, and culture appear to drive gun-crime rates more than simple gun availability.
Explore the data at Bloomberg Businessweek
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health."
People argue that we obviously need better gun control. It’s hard to reasonably counter a statement like, “If fewer people had guns, there would be fewer people shooting them.” What if there were no guns? We’d find other ways to kill each other, sure, but the scope and scale would be different. But this is not a post about gun control, it’s about the hopelessness and powerlessness we feel in the wake of these instances. Guns are a means by which we make it easier to hurt each other. We should make it harder to hurt each other; we should also figure out why we do that stuff in the first place. That’s really difficult though, maybe impossible, so instead we rage about idiot legislation or lack thereof; we rage about the “politicizing” of issues that, of course, are political issues to start with. Pro-gun people become even more firmly entrenched and defensive and sure of “rights”; anti-gun people can’t understand why they don’t see what appears pure fact. Could we all just please stop shooting each other?
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Why do we spend at least 1,000 times more money protecting ourselves from terrorism than we do protecting ourselves from gun violence? I’m not necessarily suggesting that we spend less on anti-terrorism programs. Like everyone else, I am grateful there have been no mass casualty terror events since 9/11. I’m just wondering, instead, what possible justification there could be for spending so relatively little to try to reduce the casualties of gun violence. […]
Our government has asked us consistently since 9/11 to sacrifice individual liberties and freedom, constitutional rights to privacy for example, in the name of national security. And we have ceded these liberties. Yet that same government in that same time hasn’t asked anyone to sacrifice some Second Amendment rights to help protect innocent victims from gun violence.