Public Comment

NRA Shoots Self in Foot and Other Comments

By Jack Bragen
Thursday December 27, 2012 - 08:55:00 PM

Spokespersons for NRA are suggesting that we put armed guards in elementary schools, and that we should crack down (in their words, “adjudicate”) persons with psychiatric illnesses. The idea of bringing armed guards into the public school system seems completely bogus to anyone who can think. 

Persons with mental illness are an easy group to pick on and to blame for the world's ills, since there are very few of us who can speak up. 

Persons on all sides of this debate have forgotten one important point: People already own millions of assault weapons. These existing weapons will still be operable for many years to come—even decades. Simply banning the sale of these weapons would be too little too late. Going house to house to confiscate the weapons isn't practicable—nor would we want such a search. 

The above paragraph outlines one reason why a ban on the sale of assault weapons won't do much. Secondly, if you have a determined individual who is criminally insane, such as were the several twenty-something year old young men responsible for the last several attacks, they will find a way--including in the absence of guns. For example, I have heard that a homemade bomb can be made from readily available materials such as fertilizer. 

Even though there is some truth to the NRA assertion that it won't fix things to ban weapons, (but for different reasons than the ones they are giving) the attitude of their spokespersons has been unmistakeably flippant, provocative, and callous toward the victims of these violent tragedies. I am sure that most gun owners have some sympathy for the victims of these shootings, unlike the NRA spokespersons who have appeared on CNN. 

Concerning persons with mental illness, this is a time when advocates for “Laura's Law” are more vocal. I don't believe this law is a good solution. It attempts to address the issue of medication noncompliance with force, and doesn't deal with the multiple issues we face that we need help with. You are simply forcing drugs on a population that needs to be given some hope of a better life. 

A multi-pronged approach is needed. This would include more restrictions on the sale of weapons, attention to security in schools but without bringing in armed guards, and help being readily available for disturbed individuals