It was hard to see what was most troubling about this week hearing in Congress about the national epidemic of gun violence.
Was it the pediatrician from Uvalde, Texas, who on May 24 described the bodies of decapitated children in his emergency room, so mutilated that they could only be identified by their “blood-splattered cartoon clothes”?
Was it the mother who spoke about the last time she saw her daughter alive, watching her receive an award for good grades in fourth grade at Robb Elementary School, promising to take her out for ice cream later? , and then went to a working day? It was a decision she said will “haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Or was it the 11-year-old girl who said she was so afraid of being killed by the gunman who had already massacred her teacher and classmates that she decided to play dead on her classroom floor by she covered herself in blood from her friend’s body?
After that heartbreaking statement, the Democrat-controlled House took logical action and passed a package of adequate gun security measures. The bills would raise the age to purchase semi-automatic guns from 18 to 21, ban high-capacity magazines, create new requirements for gun owners to keep their firearms safe and Expansion of Red Flag Laws enabling families and police to ask courts to order the removal of firearms from people who are at extreme risk of harming themselves or others.
But the tragedy of the recent mass shootings in Uvalde is compounding; Buffalo, New York; and Tulsa, Oklahoma; (plus dozens more that don’t make as many headlines – carnage in the last few days in Portsmouth, Va.; Baltimore; Mesa, Arizona.; Saginaw, Mich.; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Philadelphia left 31 injured and 15 dead, including a pregnant woman whose 25-week-old fetus was removed from her body) was the almost certain probability that House legislation would stall in the Senate.
Even if the shots are now Leading cause of death for American children – more young lives than car accidents – Republican opposition to firearm limitations is likely to derail bills in the 50-50 Senate, where the filibuster rule requires the support of 10 GOP senators to move the debate forward.
The good news, if you can call it that Nation with the highest death rate from guns among the world’s most developed countries is that a bipartisan group of senators is trying to draft a gun safety bill that has a chance of passing the Senate and being signed into law. It would be a lot narrower than domestic legislationand could include incentives that encourage states to enact warning signs, an expansion of state background checks to include juvenile records, and funds to improve school safety and support mental health programs.
This is hardly the kind of bold, transformative politics we’d like to see. The nation should expand background checks and reintroduce the ban on assault weapons, policies that existed proven to save lives and are supported by more than 60% of Americans, according to a Pew poll last year.
But doing something is better than nothing. And expanding the warning signals to more states could make a positive difference. California is among 19 states that have laws allowing family members and law enforcement officials to seek a court order to temporarily remove firearms from people who are at significant risk of harming themselves or others.
New research examining the first three years of California law allowing these “gun violence restraining orders” found that they successfully removed firearms in 58 cases in which someone threatened a mass shooting, including six cases involving schools aimed. They were also effective in preventing possible self-harm, which occurred in approximately 40% of the cases studied over the 3-year period. There were no suicides among those who threatened to harm themselves and were then stripped of their guns by court order, it said the Violence Prevention Research Program study at UC Davis.
California can make this policy even more effective education of the public that it is possible to ask courts to take away guns from someone and so on Training more judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials how the process works. It was good to see Governor Gavin Newsom last week Announced $11 million to support such public relations.
Senators in Washington, meanwhile, must move forward and reach a bipartisan agreement to reduce the number of Americans killed, injured and traumatized by gun violence. It’s the least they can do for the nation’s children.
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-06-10/federal-national-gun-safety-gun-control-bills-legislation Editorial: Keep at it, senators. Modest action on gun safety is better than nothing at all