June has been designated “Gun Violence Awareness Month,” with June 1st as “Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The first day and throughout the month are intended to raise awareness of the estimated 96 people killed every day and the many more injured across the United States.
We wear orange to symbolize the epidemic of gun violence ravaging the country. Throughout the month, organizations are planning educational efforts, voter registration drives, and mobilization activities.
We currently live in a political climate in which national, state, and local governments are increasingly dismantling regulations for the benefit of the corporate sector’s bottom line rather than to better ensure the safety and health of the people.
While no single or a combination of measures will completely eliminate firearms deaths and injuries, I have constructed a list of proposals to buck the current deregulation trend, intended to substantially diminish the plague of violence:
- Ban and criminalize the possession of semi-automatic and so-called “assault” weapons.
- Close loopholes such as buying a weapon at a gun show.
- Ban the purchase of firearms from those on the federal “no-fly” list, anyone convicted of domestic violence, and anyone who has a restraining order against them.
- Repeal the Dickey Amendment (passed by Congress in 1996 mandating that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control”).
- The U.S. government must increase funding for research investigating the causes and solutions of firearms violence.
- Strengthen the ban on the purchase of firearms and ammunition on the internet.
- Ban so-called “Bump Stocks” and other technologies that increase the speed or force of semi-automatic weapons.
- Increase the waiting period and make background checks universal and more rigorous and effective in the purchasing of firearms.
- Initiate background checks each time an individual purchases ammunition.
- Limit the number of firearms any individual can own.
- Limit the number of bullets any firearm magazine can hold.
- Ban and criminalize the purchase and possession of “armor piercing” bullets, and hollow-tip bullets.
- Ban so-called “ghost guns,” which are kits that include gun parts the owner assembles into a completed firearm.
- Hold gun shop owners liable when selling firearms and ammunition to anyone who is not legally eligible to own, such as minors, felons, or people with a history of serious mental illness.
- Initiate an anonymous reporting system for persons wanting to report suspicious behaviors of those who possess firearms.
- Investigate and initiate effective anti-bullying policies in schools and workplaces.
- Assess all incidents and continually update training procedures of law enforcement agencies on the national and local levels to better ensure equitable and bias-free policing in the community in which they are meant to serve.
- Limit the purchase of any firearm to the age of 21 (preferably 25) and above.
- Substantially increase federal and local funding of mental health services and drug treatment.
- All firearms owners must take and pass a course in the proper use, safety, and storage of their weapons.
- All firearms must contain a safety device designed to prevent the discharge of the weapon by unauthorized users.
- Rethink the “logic” of permitting concealed weapons, especially in places like houses of worship, colleges, bars, restaurants, and political rallies.
- Interface all data bases monitoring firearms ownership to assess and monitor the firearm-owning population more accurately and effectively.
As we all know, the chances for comprehensive common-sense gun control in the United States is only a pipe dream as long as the National Rifle Association controls Congress and state legislatures, for if they did not, we would have seen effective laws passed years ago resulting in countless lives saved.
Nevertheless, this utter stupidity in our system of firearms laws must end. Enough is enough is enough is enough already! Actually, it is far past that time!