This is for Fighting; This is for Fun

This is for Fighting; This is for Fun

By Joseph Yurgil

Editor’s Note: Any opinions expressed in the following article are exclusively those of the author.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which saw the deaths of 20 children and 6 staff members, has ignited a national debate on firearms.  On one hand the Second Amendment protects rights to keep and bear arms, which has lead to a proliferation of firearm ownership that is ingrained in American culture.  On the other hand no one wants another Sandy Hook.

President Obama has reacted to the shooting by calling for Congress to increase the breadth of background checks for firearm purchasers, to renew the Clinton-era Federal Assault Weapons Ban, to take common sense steps to reduce firearm violence and specifically to make schools safer, and lastly, to improve mental health services.

On top of this, President Obama has also enacted twenty-three executive actions aimed at reducing firearm violence, available in full at www.whitehouse.gov.  Some of these are aimed at increasing information available to federal background check databases and initializing a national firearm violence awareness campaign.

One of the more significant executive actions is a pledge to direct the Center for Disease Control to research firearm violence, which the CDC has not done since Congress cut funding in 1996 with a bill that was heavily backed by the National Rifle Association.  In the immediate wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, Vice President Biden was frustrated by the lack of in depth research on firearms.  This research may lead to more effective solutions to firearm violence than the highly contentious calls for an assault weapons (a nebulous term) ban.

California, which has some of the most restrictive firearm laws, has not reacted legislatively to the Sandy Hook shooting but Attorney General Kamala Harris asserted California’s firearms laws could be a model for the rest of the nation.

America has a violence problem, one that will not be solved by a single legislative magic pill.  The research the CDC does should help legislators devise a multifaceted approach to reducing firearm violence, which should be more effective than any crisis, knee-jerk reaction could be.

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