Photo: Steve Morgan
Following the mass murder at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a violent batman movie, I wrote an article about the need to set up a blue ribbon panel to figure out what’s causing so many mass murders and do something to stop them.
It was extremely discouraging to do the research for the article. One commentator said mass murders are going to continue until something is done about gun control and how mental illness is handled.
With two people murdered yesterday at a shopping mall, the Clackamas Town Center, in Portland, Ore., it’s time to look at this problem again.
Since I wrote the article in August, it's good to see that some interest and action is occurring on gun control:
- President Obama is expected to push gun control in his second term.
- A new study by the Center for American Progress and Mayors Against Illegal Guns shows that the public is resoundingly in favor of common-sense gun control measures. The groups also found the mythic power of the National Rifle Association to punish any elected official who dares to stray from the no-gun-control-ever line is exaggerated.
- NBC’s Bob Costas brought up gun control during half time of a Sunday Night Football broadcast after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who police say murdered his girlfriend at their home before driving to the Chiefs’ practice facility and shooting himself in front of the team’s coach and general manager. Costas talked about the role guns, and the nation’s lax gun laws, played in the tragedy. After a brief introduction, Costas quoted Kansas City-based columnist Jason Whitlock, who wrote yesterday that he believed both Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, would be alive today were it not for Belcher’s possession of a gun.
- New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman won a court victory in defense of the state’s gun safety laws in November. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected a constitutional challenge to New York's handgun licensing statute, ruling that the law requiring individuals to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry concealed handguns in public doesn’t violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
- Following an undercover investigation, two New York gun show operators agreed in November to carry out new procedures at their gun shows throughout the state. The operators – Niagara Frontier Collectors Inc. and NEACA Inc. – agreed to established procedures that go beyond state law, including a process that ensures all guns brought into the gun show by private sellers are tagged so that, when consumers exit, the operator can determine if guns were sold and that a proper background check was performed.
- Last month, a coalition of 10 state attorneys general urged the U.S. Senate to reject two laws that would force states, such as New York and nine other states, to allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms based on their home state's less safe laws rather than those of the state they are entering.
My heart goes out to the families whose loved ones died Tuesday.
In addition to gun control and mental illness programs, I think American leaders need to investigate hate mongering in the media, violent images aimed at children, the lack of programs to help trouble youth, job related triggers, and other factors that may contribute to mass murders.
Where’s the blue ribbon panel on stopping mass murders?
If government officials won’t set one up, organizations need to take the lead then get officials to take action.