Practical solutions for gun safety

Francisco Lizares

Gun violence in the United States will not be reduced by passing new laws such as the assault weapons ban. It is an issue that goes far beyond the right to bear arms debate.

In a society that argues marijuana should be legalized because “prohibition simply doesn’t work,” why is there so much hypocritical faith in legislation to curb gun violence?

Legislation has very little jurisdiction over basic human morality. It takes an overwhelming amount of intent to gun down a fellow human being. This makes most gun laws useless at deterring mass shootings.

Most mass shooters like James Holmes, cinema shooter in Aurora, Colo., share the common trait of mental instability. The high price of mental health services and the stigma of having such disorders discourage many from obtaining the help that they need.

Mental illness is an epidemic in this country that we are not addressing. According to the Centers for Disease control, 25 percent of adults have a mental illness of some kind. Expanding access to mental health services would reduce violent crimes across the board.

This country also needs a universal gun license that would be required for the purchase and possession of any firearm.

Like driving a vehicle, gun ownership is a huge responsibility that should demand some kind of certification besides a background check.

Reducing the amount of illegal weapons domestically should also be a priority.

One of the most effective ways of tackling this issue is to expand the use of the gun buyback program where people surrender legal and illegal weapons in exchange for gift cards.

Last December, Los Angeles hosted a gun buyback program shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The program had enormous success by collecting over 2,000 weapons that included fully automatic assault rifles and two anti-tank rocket launchers.

Ensuring the safety of the public can be achieved by allowing properly trained and trusted citizens to arm themselves with concealed carry weapons.

While many would dive into the deep end of the the “what ifs,” we should look at why it would work.

Our worst mass shootings have occurred in declared “gun free” zones such as malls and schools.

We need people such as Nick Meli who used his pistol to confront the Oregon mall shooter.

There is nothing that criminals hate more than being on equal terms with honest citizens.

But when it comes to protecting students at schools and universities, the “gun free” zones should be upheld and only trained police officers on regular school patrols should be responsible for student safety.