Gun de­bate

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

Men­tal ill­ness

Re­gard­ing “Texas maker of ‘bump stocks’ halts new sales” (Page A1, Fri­day), politi­cians are fall­ing all over them­selves to see who can be the first to the mi­cro­phone to pro­pose a ban on the so­called bump stock.

We had mass shoot­ings be­fore bump stocks and, in all like­li­hood, will con­tinue to have them even if bump stocks are made il­le­gal.

Why? Be­cause as usual, we are not deal­ing with the root cause of these heinous crimes. Rather than fo­cus on the men­tal ill­ness that would lead some­one to com­mit such a crime, politi­cians fo­cus on a far eas­ier tar­get — the tool that was used. That’s like blam­ing the ham­mer if you hit your thumb.

The bump stock is the per­fect tar­get. Lib­er­als can claim they are en­act­ing gun con­trol and con­ser­va­tives can say they are tak­ing rea­son­able steps that won’t alien­ate gun own­ers.

But the real ques­tion should be, is there any way to pre­dict or con­trol this kind of vi­o­lent be­hav­ior?

Barry Boswell, Hous­ton

NRA shift?

Re­gard­ing the NRA’s mean­ing­less stance Thurs­day in say­ing that “bump stocks” that helped the Las Ve­gas shooter turn semi­au­to­matic weapons into fully au­to­matic weapons should now be “sub­ject to ad­di­tional reg­u­la­tions” is decades late and mil­lions of po­lit­i­cal dol­lars short.

Don’t fool your­self. The Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion will never change. Their state­ment rings hollow — and hyp­o­crit­i­cal.

Michael Lons­ford, Hous­ton

Pur­su­ing fixes

I have three ideas for re­duc­ing gun deaths.

First, manda­tory jail terms for any crime com­mit­ted with a gun, per­haps five years for the first of­fense and 20 years for the sec­ond one. That should get many dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals off the streets and make it less at­trac­tive for kids to start a life of crime.

Sec­ond, elim­i­nate all news cov­er­age about the per­pe­tra­tors of these mass shoot­ings. No in­ter­views of family and friends, no high school pho­tos, just keep them en­tirely anony­mous.

The news me­dia al­ready does this for rape vic­tims and could do it for mass killers. This will re­duce the celebrity of the crime and not give these peo­ple the in­stant path to in­famy that seems to ap­peal to some of them.

Third, le­gal­ize as­sisted sui­cide. Some por­tion of gun deaths are sui­cides and a more hu­mane ap­proach to this prob­lem would help.

None of these ideas re­quire any changes to the Con­sti­tu­tion, and they should not be po­lit­i­cally un­ac­cept­able to most peo­ple. And they might work.

Dave Dyer, Hous­ton

Ge­orge Frey / Getty Im­ages

A “bump stock” de­vice fits on a semi-au­to­matic ri­fle to make it fire like a fully au­to­matic weapon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.