How Many More Must Die Before The United States Enacts Sane Gun Control Laws?

There has been another school shooting in the United States with more "thoughts and prayers" for the victims of this latest mass shooting. But as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow morning, there will be another mass shooting in the United States. Whether it is at another school, or a place of business, a church, a shopping center or just out in public; this is an epidemic that must stop! Most of the time when mass shootings happen in other countries, they are usually isolated incidents or are acts by terrorist groups.

But here in the United States these mass shootings are done by ordinary people who may be troubled individuals carried out with legally purchased or owned firearms. The latest school shooter used guns legally owned by his father to kill 10 and wound another 10 people just going about their business of education. So far in 2018, more people have been killed in school shootings than all of our troops on active duty around the world.

What is it in the United States about our fascination with guns? Earlier this month a recent female graduate of Kent State University walked around the campus openly carrying an assault rifle, supposedly to make a political point. For what? Ohio's crazy and cowardly legislators have allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons into bars, restaurants, sporting events and on college campuses unless specifically posted by the establishment. Has the United States gone back to the wild west of the 19th century?

Last week I attended a concert at a popular outdoor venue in Cleveland. Everyone attending the concert had to go through security and no firearms were permitted. Fine, but this security only prevents honest people from bringing in a Swiss army knife, like I carry as a handy dandy tool and not as a weapon. But a sniper or gunman with an assault weapon or just a deer rifle could easily commit mass murder from outside the security perimeter. Such security procedures wouldn't have prevented the mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas last October.

But the question that must be asked is when will our elected officials actually do something to prevent such mass shootings? When will they stand up against the gun lobby? We don't have to repeal the second amendment or take guns away from anyone who hasn't broken the law or isn't crazy. But I challenge anyone to give me a reason why any civilian should own a working AR-15 military assault weapon with a 100 round magazine.

One start could be to hold gun owners both criminally and civilly liable should their guns be used in a crime. The Chardon school shooter back in February 2012 used guns owned by his grandfather to kill three students at Chardon high school. He was 17 years old at the time. Shouldn't guns be kept under lock and key and not be where anyone else could have access to them? Shouldn’t ammunition be stored separately from the guns and the guns stored unloaded? The suspect in the latest school shooting is a 17 year old boy. Shouldn't the parents be held responsible for his actions?

Earlier this year two police officers in the Columbus area were shot and killed answering a domestic disturbance call. The man who shot them has a long criminal record and cannot own or buy a gun. But another man in the Cleveland area bought the gun used in the killing for his friend at a gun store in the Cleveland area. He is facing criminal charges for buying that gun illegally for someone else. But shouldn't someone who buys or provides a gun to another person and that gun is used to commit a crime face the same charges as the person who pulled the trigger?

After all, if someone drives the get away car for a bank robbery, they are charged as an accomplice in the robbery. So shouldn't the man who illegally bought the gun used to kill two police officers be facing the same charges as the man who pulled the trigger? Would such a law have stopped that killing? I don't know, but it may make people think twice before buying a gun for someone else. Of course that man with the criminal record could have purchased that gun at a local gun show where there are no background checks. 

We can do a lot to prevent mass shootings. Other countries have passed laws that have worked. So why can't the United States pass sensible laws that might prevent such killings? We just lack the political courage and will to just do it.

Ordinary citizens could get this done by voting sensibly. First go vote, then reject any candidate who is under the control of the NRA. Vote for candidates who pledge to enact sensible legislation to prevent mass shootings and pass sensible gun control laws. Then after the election, hold our elected officials accountable.

You could bet the farm that if it were some international terrorist group that took responsibility for a mass shooting with that many killed, our elected officials and the people would demand something be done right away. But when it is one of our own using a legally purchased and owned gun that commits a mass shooting, we just offer "thoughts and prayers" until the next mass shooting. It is time to do much more before the next mass shooting incident.

Lee Kamps

Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 12:36 PM, 06.02.2018