Addressing the Problem of Mass-shooting
When the school shooting at Columbine hit the news more than 20 years ago, Americans were stunned. Since then, the number of mass shootings in public places is making Americans look deeper and more personally into possible solutions for this growing problem.
Politicians and policy makers are aware of their role in helping to solve this problem. For years they have been trying to figure out what combination of laws and public policy will keep Americans safe from gun violence. Policy makers, however, are driven by a variety of motives and factors. From the pressures they feel from popular opinion to the incentives provided by political party support and big name donors, it’s hard to come to solutions everyone is happy with.
And the number of mass shootings increases.
What can we do? Where can we find solutions to this growing epidemic that not only literally destroys lives but is ripping us further and further away from the solution?
Public policy cannot be made if politicians are tied to specific political party agendas. Issues like mass shootings have to transcend the petty squabbling of party politics. Politicians have to be free to listen to good ideas regardless of what donors and political party leaders think. The United Utah Party is dedicated to changing the way we think about political parties so that solutions are based on practicality rather than ridgid party platforms.
How do we get there? One way is to consider the ideas already out there and weigh their practicality.
Better background checks, more robust databases, and stricter processes for purchasing firearms are measures that could definitely be steps in the right direction. We could better define firearms that are used for personal protection and separate them from weapons that are central to mass shootings. Weapons that are especially lethal could require separate restrictions and utilize more technological protections and training. If these additional protections are not feasible, or are ineffective for reducing their use in this growing epidemic, we should also be allowed to consider making these particularly deadly weapons illegal.
Red flag reporting is an idea that has recently started working its way through these problem solving conversations. How can we make “red flag reporting” more likely? What cultural changes will we need to make so that this added measure is not just a good idea but is an effective tool in preventing a mass shooting? How do we also protect those who could potentially be vulnerable to being mislabeled?
Technology has come a long way and now includes better safety measures such as fingerprint recognition for general firearm operation. We should consider supporting and promoting these technological advances and their spread.
Along with these many good ideas, we need to reevaluate current laws and provisions already in place. Some of them directly or indirectly prevent the government from collecting vital information about this growing problem. Measures like the Dickey Amendment have been tacked on to legislation to create roadblocks for government agencies to use funds to research gun violence. Information is key to helping us better understand what is going on so that together we can come up with more good ideas.
Politicians aren’t the only ones who have their work cut out for them. A lot of what happens in society is based on our communities and culture as well. Lately many of us have been evaluating the many possibilities that transcend legislation. Does bullying contribute to gun violence? What about support systems in a world of growing family diversity? And what can leaders of our nation do to be more responsible for what they say and consider the consequences of extreme rhetoric?
We have to carefully consider possible solutions. It’s not about pointing fingers or looking for an easy fix. It’s going to take all of us and our variety of ideas and experiences to navigate our way through.
As we think about what policy changes or cultural changes we can make that would keep people safe, we need to make sure party politics isn’t getting in the way. We should be open to all perspectives and all viewpoints as we consider this problem together. It is simply too big for any one person or one party to have all of the answers. And that’s why the United Utah Party is dedicated to practical solutions over partisan politics.