As awful as the recent events on Michigan State University are, it’s important to note that it was just one of more than 70 mass shootings in this country in just the first two months of the year.
With the minimum body count of three to be a mass shooting, that’s 210 dead or wounded people. Count the next 210 people you encounter at your next big box store visit and then imagine them not going home today.
The time has come to offer more than just hopes and prayers.
Over the next few weeks the state legislature will be considering measures to deal with safe gun storage and universal background checks as well as a possible red flag law.
If you feel the need to purchase every gun you see, great. If nothing else it helps the economy. However, every gun that is not in your direct control should be secured so some fourth grader or burglar can’t get their hands on it. There is simply no excuse to leave firearms lying around where anyone can get their hands on them and there should be serious consequences for people who do.
In a world where you can pay for you pizza on your phone, there is simply no excuse to not have universal background checks regardless of whether you’re selling a firearm at a gun show or off your back porch. In a world where apps can tell you how many million cat videos are available in seconds; Michigan State Police can surely have an app created (if one doesn’t exist already) that will tell you if the person you’re about to hand a firearm to is a convicted felon or is the subject of a mental health order.
If you’re a law-abiding citizen, you should be able to buy every last gun you can afford. However, if you beat up your spouse last night or threatened your neighbors, co-workers or yourself with harm – you are not a law-abiding citizen and you, at least temporarily, should not be armed.
Nearly 20 states have red flag laws, the oldest of which is 24-years-old. It should not be that hard to review them; pick the best one; and adjust any parts that have been found not to work well.
Will these measures eliminate every act of gun violence? Of course not. The first drunk driving law was passed 113 years ago and seatbelts have been mandatory for 55 years, but people keep dying on the highway.
Still, those measures have cut down on the carnage.
— Phil Foley