Concrete steps only meaningful action

When are we as a society going to finally say enough? The recurrence of unsuspecting citizens violently gunned down by a heavily armed gunman is happening too often, and horrified residents are left stunned that the senseless killings happened in their community. After every mass shooting, politicians and talking heads say we must come together to address this issue, but what have we really done?

Easily accessible high capacity assault weapons have been the common denominator, but the powerful gun lobby has steadfastly insisted that high capacity magazines were no factor. The gun lobby will tell you that if more people were armed, the tragedies could possibly have been prevented. They will also tell you that gun control laws are only effective if they are obeyed, but are often disregarded by criminals. So it’s up to the citizens to defend themselves, and by the NRA model, we will have to start arming teachers and grade school children so they are capable of defending themselves — that’s not the America I want to live in.

Sadly, guns are as American as baseball and apple pie; the problem is we addictively value gun ownership and the false security they provide more than the safety of our children. The assault weapons ban did little to curb gun-related violence. Until we change the behavior, I believe it is reasonable to pass laws to alert law enforcement and unsuspecting citizens of danger. Hunting and assault rifles should never be carried outside a locked case in public, and any person carrying such must wear a bright orange reflective vest. No more than 15 rounds can be carried in a single magazine; additional ammunition should be carried in a separate locked case. Ban Internet sales of all firearms and ammunition; sellers should see the buyers and all purchases should require mandatory background checks for persons not holding a CWP issued in the past 12 months. Make it unlawful for a person under the care of a mental health-care professional who has been diagnosed as a potential threat to his/herself or others, to purchase, possess, have access to, or discharge firearms. Mandate confiscation of firearms, suspension of gun rights and require jail time for violations of the aforementioned.

Will these measures stop the senseless mass killings? No, but when you see a person wearing a vest while carrying a rifle case in public, be cautious. Anything different, you should call 911 and prepare for action.

Kerry Watkins

Lake Stevens