Wed, June 26

Letter: Time for a gun-safe America


  1. There must be really good, thorough background checks any time and every time a firearm changes hands. Either as a private sale or through a licensed dealer or gun show vender or even as a gift. Technology is ready for this measure, the general population is ready for this. The only obstruction is the NRA and other groups that hold the political future of cowardly public servants in their fists.
  2. People who are convicted felons, violent or otherwise, people who have mental health issues, violent or suicidal, people who are under court order or have charges of domestic violence or abuse or sexual offenses pending should not be allowed to purchase or even receive a firearm as a gift. Keep guns out if the hands of those who should or may not have them.
  3. There must be laws with real sharp teeth aimed (pun intended) at those who might leave firearms unsecured. Serious penalties need to be in place for allowing guns to be stolen and subsequently used in a crime. Or, borrowed (or loaned out) and used in a crime. Guns can be disabled, locked up and made much more difficult to obtain by those who should not have them. If the argument is that criminals will get guns regardless of laws, I say, not if people don’t let them. We all know to lock our houses and cars, now lock up the guns. The consequences should be on you too.
  4. There must also be laws with real sharp teeth regarding responsibility, security and safety of firearms. Any parent or other adult who allows their gun to be found and discharged by a child in their home or car or campsite or anywhere, whether that discharge results in injury or death or not, should be prosecuted and if found guilty of negligence, sentenced to prison. Guns must be kept secure and unavailable to those who must not have them. Children in particular.
  5. A huge effort must be made by the approximately 80 percent of Americans who agree with me in principle to pressure politicians, the lobbying groups, the gun manufactures and sellers to adopt these common sense laws and practices. An enormous public relations campaign such as M.A.D.D. would be about right. Many lives have been saved by public pressure. These massive PR campaigns have had a positive impact on everything from automotive safety, smoking, AIDS prevention, even forest fires. Now it’s time for a GUN SAFE AMERICA!

William Bassett