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Letter to the Editor: Guns are not going anywhere

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 3, 2018 at 4:00 PM

To the Editor:

We are seeing an all-too-familiar pattern when it comes to cases of mass shootings at high schools. First, the shooting happens. Second, there is outrage across all boundaries of society. Third, Congress will debate how to fix the issue. Fourth, Congress will appease by doing something so miniscule it won’t help, and the general public will be lulled to sleep over time. The next shooting happens, and the cycle begins again.

It is estimated there are between 270 million-310 million guns in America, according to Pew Research. Here is a news flash for everyone. Guns are not going anywhere, nor does Congress have the will or desire to implement any gun control. It is time to move on. So, here are some more hard cold facts for us. Sixty-five percent of juvenile offenders have three or more illegal weapons or firearms, according to gunlaws.com. Two studies indicate a higher proportion of juvenile offenders are reported as having or using an assault rifle in a crime as compared to adult offenders, according to bjs.com. So, for me, issue No. 1 is to address getting weapons out of the hands of minors.

The United States has a uniquely higher gun violence issue compared to the rest of the world. Mass shootings account for less than 2 percent of gun deaths. This is an astonishing fact, while America makes up less the 5 percent of the world, we own roughly 42 percent of the world’s privately owned guns, according to vox.com. So back to my earlier statement, guns are not going anywhere. I believe the solution lies at the local levels. Places like schools, libraries, malls, etc. are all soft targets and until we take security seriously they will continue to be targets. 

So instead of implementing totally futile gun control measures, why don’t we exercise some common sense? Admittedly, some of what I am proposing might already be accomplished in some communities, including here. I think it would be prudent to put a police substation at every high school. This would increase security and response times. We cannot rely on one or two school resource officers to respond to every situation in a school of 1,000-2,500 students. It is unrealistic. 

Although, I believe that teachers should be allowed to carry weapons, I think it is a foolish to mandate every teacher carry. Some people are not and will not be comfortable with guns. It is just the way it is. 

Any minor caught with a weapon in the act of a crime should incur the strictest of punishment. Physiatrists and psychologists should be able to report any danger exists for a person to own a gun where it applies. I am not saying share the diagnosis, but what I am saying is there should be a tie into the background database that states something relative to this. 

It should be an annual requirement for teachers to attend a workshop on active shooters and how to respond. There should be an armed person at the front office of every school all the time. Teachers should be taught the signs of what to look for in a student who is exhibiting odd or dangerous behaviors and be able to report with a swift response. A reporting system should be initiated and followed through with an investigation. The joke that Christ should not be allowed in our classrooms is what I believe to be an underlying issue, as well.

We need to realize the police and sheriff’s office are competing with other as government entities for resources. So until these two government entities are seriously funded to respond to these events, nothing will happen; not my ideas, not your ideas and not their ideas for trying to fix this.

I want to personally thank all our first responders. Wilson County is blessed with some of the best.

This might shock you, but I am an avid gun owner, as well.

Jim Williams

Lebanon

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