I read the article in the Gazette about the rallies in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere to demand gun control in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. There have been repeated calls for gun control in response to other shootings, but this time the collective voices are louder. The difference is largely due to some brave and dedicated teenagers who are not willing to accept the continuing refusal of our leaders to take action. I applaud them.
Conspiracy theorists claim that the government intends to take away their guns. This is not going to happen, but their claim blinds people to the real danger: guns in the hands of the wrong people.
Specific steps can be taken to reduce this danger. First, background checks must be required for all gun purchases. Background checks are our front-line defense against having guns in the hands of the wrong people. It makes no sense to have a check system that is so easily evaded as now.
Second, there needs to be a legal means of removing guns, or preventing the purchase of guns, by persons who are a threat to themselves or others. The shooter in Parkland, Florida, was known to be dangerously unstable and an owner of very dangerous weapons. Police and the courts should be able to take preemptive action in such cases.
Other actions can be taken to reduce the threat from the military-style weapons used in these mass killings — limits on magazine size, banning of bump stocks, for instance.
These are reasonable steps that are not a threat to responsible people who want to own guns. Will our political leaders have the courage to support them or will they simply wait for the marchers to return home and hope that things will quiet down?
The fall elections are coming. We need to use our votes to remove from office those who are blocking action on these important measures.