To the editor,
The news media pays much attention to incidents involving shootings. However, there is one aspect of their reports that is usually missing. Missing, is a review of the legality of the violator having the gun in the first place. I’ll bet that there are a lot of stolen guns, straw purchases and “Saturday Night Specials” involved. Not to mention guns purchased legally, but after passing flawed approval procedures.
Again, it’s not the guns that commit the crimes, it’s the weirdos and criminals that have them.
But to pursue this we have a problem. As the old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Everyone agrees that potential criminals have no desire to be vetted and be identified. Yet these folks are specifically the ones we should be most concerned about. A proven successful effort to follow up on this was started in New York City by having the police do spontaneous pat-downs of suspicious people, looking for illegally carried guns concentrating on high crime neighborhoods. This was opposed by the civil-liberty-proponent types and was stopped.
We can have spot checks for drunk drivers on holidays, for seat belt violators, for speeders and even photograph folks running red lights, but we must not violate the civil rights of our gun-toting hoods.
To me, our system of law enforcement is not being used to its full advantage. Look at Chicago where the police are said to be hesitant to even enter some areas of the south side. The same situation exists in sections of many large cities where anarchy prevails.
My bottom line is that we should continue to examine the folks wanting to carry guns but do so in a manner that places prime importance on mental considerations. But much more importantly, we must reduce the restrictions on law enforcement to get the illegal guns off the street.