Today it happened again this time in a high school in Broward County Florida. Students fleeing in panic, many injured and some dead. In this case, the gunmen surrendered to the police. As this is being written there are still many unknown answers.
Tomorrow, as is customary, houses of government will pause their proceedings for a moment of silence and prayer for the victims and their family–and then go back to work as though nothing of any moment has happened. In fact, it seems the only law regarding the possession of weapons that our Congress is able to vote on is a law which would require open carry reciprocity among all 50 states. This means that if my state allows me to openly carry a weapon, I would be able to come to your statement and openly carry my weapon regardless of your state, city, or counties weapons laws. Pretty outrageous.
In the thirty year period, 1982 – 2012 . . . there were 62 mass shootings. That’s about 2 per year. In the five years since, there have been 34 additional mass shootings. That’s 7 mass shootings per year in the last 5 years.
Our legislators, firmly in the pockets of the NRA, are universally unable to enact any common sense gun control legislation even though a majority of our citizens are in favor of it. In October last year, following the Las Vegas mass shooting, Politico reported that
Sixty-four percent of voters support stricter gun laws, the poll shows, including 41 percent who strongly support them. Less than 3-in-10 voters, 29 percent, oppose stricter gun laws, including 16 percent in strong opposition.
Even so, the need for political contributions from the gun lobby seems to far outweigh the public’s desire for common sense gun control.
So let’s just assume that the spineless SOBs in Congress aren’t going to do anything to restrict gun ownership. After all, the laws on the books should simply be enforced, right? According to them there’s no need for additional legislation.
Clearly, however, something needs to be done about gun use in the United States. According to an January 29, 2018, article in Mother Jones, there have been 96 mass shootings (where at least 4 persons were killed) in the last 35 years. (For a full data report of all mass shootings since 1982 to the present, see this Mother Jones report.) The Washington Post has reported 146 mass shootings in the last 50 years.
In the 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012, most of the gunmen got their weapons legally.
Here is a breakdown of the kinds of weapons used in those shootings:
Between 2013 and 2018, there have been an additional 34 mass shootings, including the one today in Florida.
Think about that. In the thirty year period, 1982 – 2012, reported above, there were 62 mass shootings. That’s about 2 per year. In the five years since, there have been 34 additional mass shootings. That’s 7 mass shootings per year in the last 5 years.
So what do we do? Require gun owners to carry liability insurance on their weapons.
Anyone 18 years of age or older can buy a car. Before you can drive it off the lot you must a) have a drivers license, meaning that you have shown proficiency in both driving skills and knowledge of the rules of the road; and, b) show proof of financial responsibility, i.e., you must have liability insurance so that if you injure someone they can be at least partially compensated for your mistake.
So, require gun owners to purchase liability insurance, and require insurers to write policies. Require gun purchasers, like car purchases, to show proof of insurance before they take possession of a weapon. I can pretty much assure you that if Congress or the State Houses can’t or won’t impose guidelines for gun ownership, the insurance companies will.
Impose civil and criminal penalties on gun owners who don’t have liability insurance, especially when their weapon is used to commit a crime or inflict harm.
Require every weapon sold to come with a trigger lock–a simple locking device that keeps the weapon from being accidentally discharged, and potentially prevents an unauthorized possessor from using the weapon.
And I’d go a step further. I’d impose strict liability on gun sellers (private or retail) for selling to people who should not be able to buy a gun, like felons. Strict liability means there’s no “I didn’t know he was a felon” wiggle room. You shoulda checked, buddy. A great way to help ensure that sellers perform background checks.
It seems pretty logical to me. If our politicians won’t regulate gun ownership, we can regulate gun possession and the rules under which we own them.
In case you were wondering . . .