Letter to Editor: School safety start with social change.

March 22, 2018

Letter to Editor: School safety start with social change.

The following is a letter to the editor from David Petersen. The views of the writer are his opinion:

Dear Editor:

On Saturday people will be marching for change for school safety. Except the media and many participants define it as restricting Second Amendment rights. Their solution, the only solution progressives ever seem to offer are infringements on legal gun owners, bans, and confiscation of guns they don’t like. Real change, sustainable change that will make a real difference isn’t cheap, and it won’t be easy. It will require the most important thing you own; your time. I’m not talking about the time you spend walking around with a sign protesting to have your rights restricted, or screaming that the NRA has blood on its hands when there has never been a member involved in a mass shooting.

I’m talking about the time that is needed to make a real difference in the lives of our children and the communities we live in. More gun laws or restrictions on the rights of the 80 to 100 million people who own a gun is not the answer. If it was Chicago would be the safest place on earth.

The only thing passing laws like the recently proposed Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 will accomplish besides weakening the Constitution is to continue to alienate and make enemies of tens of millions of gun owners.There is common ground but it seems that progressives have only one thing on their mind and that is confiscation of guns and the repeal of the Second Amendment.

I can hear the cries now, “we don’t want your guns!” the recently proposed legislation outlaws the possession of 205 firearms by name. That means if it was passed someone was going to be confiscating guns. “They’re weapons of war!” No, they’re not; at least not in the way the media and the anti-gun crowd would have you believe.

Any firearm can be used in a war, look at what they did in to the Soviets in Afghanistan with their antique weapons. The Ar-15 which is at the center of this debate is not a military weapon, it isn’t a select fire full automatic firearm.“Why won’t you compromise on common sense gun laws?” Probably because there isn’t a lick of common sense in them.Gun owners compromised in 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1993, with and were subjected to the 1994 “Assault weapons Ban which did not save a single life.

Add in the thousands of other laws to regulate the sale and the possession of firearms that have been passed by States and local communities and Firearms owners as a whole are simply done with the idea of compromising gun rights.

I can’t speak for all gun owners but I believe there is common ground, to make real sustainable change, and if you added in upwards of 100 million gun owners to the effort I suspect that many things would be in reach of our goals to save and improve lives.

Not in any particular order but I would suggest;

1)      Repeal the gun free school act, it has done nothing to make students safer and has only provided a soft target for criminals to kill without fear.

2)      Allow for millage to be passed to put personnel in place at schools that are armed, they can be employed by local law enforcement. If politicians can have armed bodyguards why can’t our children?

3)      Increase funding to make sure that every person that has been adjudicated to be a danger to themselves and others or a prohibited person are placed in the NICS system so that they are denied a firearm when they try to buy one.

4)      Actually enforce the law so that when they are identified they are prosecuted, for the most part they are not. How many of the 1 million denied were prosecuted? That’s out of 156 million checks.

5)      Improved access and funding to Mental Health services and counseling but in order to be effective we need to do something about the mental health system itself. It’s top heavy, wasteful, and it needs to change.

6)      Bring back some concept of a mental institution, currently many of the mentally ill are being housed in jails and prisons and that is simply not the place for them.

7)      Speaking of prisons, we need to fill the cells with those that are violent offenders and if we need to make room then the non-violent offenders and people sentenced for minor crimes of possession need to be released into community probation and parole programs or mandatory inpatient drug treatment programs that are funded properly.

8)      Violent Offenders and those who commit a crime with a weapon need to be imprisoned for the full term of their sentence. Straw buyers need to be prosecuted consistently.Increased penalties to keep violent offenders off the street . A small percentage of people commit the vast majority of crimes so it would make a difference.

9)      Early intervention, every Kindergarten teacher in the country can tell you which kids are at high risk for social problems, you want to stop school shooters and other problems then we need to intervene, help and support children.

10)   Anti Bullying: Now if only those marching out of school would stop driving their peers to the point of suicide we’d save 11 lives a day.

11)   The NICS database should be accessible to anyone that wants to sell a gun privately to simply punch in the CPL or a drivers license number and get an answer. This streamlines the system, and allows more opportunity to check the backgrounds of those buying guns privately. If you are a prohibited person your drivers license should carry that warning.

12)   If that’s not enough I believe more gun owners would support enhanced background checks if the same requirements were applied to voting, drivers licenses, etc.

13)   The problem with requiring all private gun sales go through a Licensed dealer is that once it’s in place the government only needs to rescind all Licenses to make sales illegal. The problem with a license to own a gun is that the government only need to not renew the licenses, raise the fees, or increase the requirements. We need to restrict access for the mentally ill, and violent criminals without restricting the rights of the 80 plus million who don’t abuse their rights.

14)   Strengthen Families; improve access to meaningful education and trade schools.

15)   Provide real counselors in the public schools and fund them properly.

16)   Provide ongoing services to children who have been traumatized, victimized, and abused.

17)   You are not going to reduce violence without addressing Alcohol and other drug abuse and addiction.

18)   You’re not going to reduce violence unless you address the issue of suicide.

19)   You’re not going to reduce violence unless you address the issues of gangs, and a porous border that allows criminals to come and go as they please

Solutions that will work are going to require time, funding and personal involvement in creating a safer community, it’s going to require both sides of this issue to be involved. Marching to reduce violence is wonderful, marching to infringe upon the rights of upwards of 100 million people who have done nothing wrong and pass bad legislation; not so much.

– David Petersen, Amber Township.

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