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home : opinions : letters to the editor September 30, 2014

2/2/2013 7:30:00 AM
A few ideas to help curb gun violence

To the editor:

I have heard many gun control advocates blame only weapons for the problems our country has recently encountered. Their message is always the same: We need to do something. But I never hear any ideas except those that previously haven't worked. Here are a few of my ideas:

1. Strengthen mental health standards. Federal regulations should make bold requirements to effectively deal with those who are a danger to themselves and especially to others.

2. Enhance crime penalties. If you commit a crime with a weapon, you go to prison. Felons in possession of a firearm go to prison. Not for a concealed weapon without a permit, but for a violent or threat of violence crime. Those must be taken seriously and a message be sent to all.

3. Lower prison standards. Why do prisoners get a better environment and health care than the elderly, the poor or our soldiers overseas? Prisoners should have to share a room to learn how to get along with others. They should also have to work a job that creates income for the prison system. This would save money and perhaps they'd be like the rest of us - too tired to get into trouble when we get off work.

4. Make schools truly "safe zones" by eliminating advertising that no guns are inside and any armed intruder will not be confronted. Allow staff members, law enforcement, retired law enforcement and professional security to carry concealed firearms within our schools. Staff who are willing and trained to carry within a school could volunteer or be compensated in a minimal manner. Retired law enforcement must train and qualify annually and could also volunteer.

5. End video games where the operator commits crimes for points. It's time we stop glorifying anti-social behavior and the victimization of others. Video games are different from movies and TV as the player is pressured to continue, get more points and get to a higher level.

6. Strengthen laws that hold parents accountable. We currently have laws against leaving a firearm within reach of a child. Take it seriously with harsh penalties. Let's expand that to those who live with and work with the mentally ill and mentally disabled. Parents need to be held accountable and reminded that the word "parent" is a verb as well as a noun.

7. Come to agreements with media outlets on how to report news about shootings and other terrorist activities in a manner that would not encourage the evildoers in our country to want to be the next one. Why do we give these monsters their 15 minutes of fame?

These are all common sense solutions as the president has encouraged. The difference is that they would actually have a positive effect on achieving our goal.

Dave Schatzley, Tripoli





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