Updated: Jun 11
Gun Safety: Sane and Sensible Regulations
Everyone, no matter their political persuasion, should agree that mass shootings are out of control in the United States—and have been for years. Mass shootings not only take innocent lives, but the collective trauma ripples through surviving victims, families, neighborhoods, communities, and beyond. Of all higher income countries with a population of 10 million or more, the US ranks first among firearm homicides per 100,000 people. And, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, when adjusted for infant mortality, the percentage of children killed by firearms in the US accounts for nearly 15% of deaths of children aged 20 or younger. This is a startling statistic.
As constitutional rights are not unlimited, we must consider measures to “ensure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare.” Realistically, we cannot completely eliminate gun violence. Surely, though, most of us can find points of agreement to reduce the likelihood of it, such as considering the following options:
1. Increase the age limits for purchase of any gun to at least 21, and preferably 25 years of age, to allow more
2. Ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, with exceptions for military, law enforcement,
and at controlled gun ranges.
3. Increase Red Flag Laws and mandatory reporting, including gun dealers, pawn shops, social media outlets,
clergy, school personnel, and medical and mental health professionals.
4. Continue universal background checks but conduct more extensive checking on those who are flagged, to
assess functional stability.
a. Juvenile criminal history
b. High school records, with legal consent
c. Employment history, with legal permission
d. Two reference letters from the community, such as from school personnel, employers, and the clergy,
with legal consent
5. Train specialized law enforcement personnel and/or mental health professionals to conduct Risk
Assessments, with legal permission.
6. End the gun show loopholes that avoid regulations.
7. Require an extensive training process to increase safer use and storage.
8. Require mandatory waiting periods to reduce “heat of the moment” actions.
9. Repeal liability protection to hold gun-makers and dealers accountable.
Editorial by: H. Denise Wooten, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist in Texas