Let me say up front that my family owns guns. All kinds – rifles, shotguns. We use those against critters that constantly encircle our house and yard – coyotes looking to get into the yard to snack on our dogs and wild hogs rutting around and making a mess of the ranch land.
But never in my wildest dreams would I turn one on another human being. I don’t believe I could shoot someone, even if they were threatening me or my family.
So it is incredibly difficult for me to understand how someone can shoot up a church because they don’t like their ex-wife’s mother.
But someone knew about the extreme aggressiveness of Devin Patrick Kelley, the 26-year old former Air Force member who was convicted by a military court for assaulting his wife and fracturing his stepson’s skull.
The same goes for Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people in Charleston, S.C. in 2015, and for Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 at Virginia Tech in 2007.
All of these horrible killings occurred after background checks failed – background checks that should have shown felony convictions for assault and drugs and for mental illness as deemed by a judge.
Citizens of the United States can’t seem to agree on stricter gun control and limitations. There has been no real research since the mid-1990s into whether stricter gun controls actually stem violence; that’s when the Republican-led Congress threatened to take away funds from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if it didn’t stop researching firearm injuries and deaths. Basically, the National Rifle Association (NRA) accused the CDC of promoting gun control, and we know that the NRA has lots of power in Washington D.C.
So, we are left with our current system, which is failing miserably.
If the military doesn’t get its assault convictions, as happened with Kelley, into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for background checks in a timely manner, then these incidents will continue to happen.
If judges don’t insist that those deemed mentally unstable be listed in NICS, if those convicted of felony drug charges aren’t entered in a timely manner, this will continue to happen.
Again and again.
We have a simple system in place until – or rather if – we have more research regarding some kind of gun control.
At the very least, we need to insist that the government follow its own rules and get those who shouldn’t have guns into the system.
That’s about the only way right now to stem some of the violence that seems to occur ever more commonly.