Isn't it time to at least study the problem?

Carl Parker

Following recent mass murders, conservative politicians have rushed to the scene to show sympathy. And there has also been a great deal of criticism of politicians who arrive and offer only thoughts and prayers for the survivors of the killings. As a person of faith, I certainly believe that there is a great deal to be said for offering prayers of comfort. The problem arises, though, when prayers and good thoughts are the only thing offered by politicians.

It seems like the prayers have an empty, hollow ring, like a person holding a basket of groceries praying for a starving person without offering to share.

As I see the problem, offering only prayers and doing nothing further belies the real problem we are plagued with — repeated mass killings. Failing to discuss remedies to make us safe from crazies with guns is merely a cowardly cop-out for politicians afraid to even criticize the status quo related to guns in America.

There are many things that can be done with the current law to make us safer from owners of weapons who should not have them. As an example, there have been advocates of measures to avoid suicides with guns in America, and yet our Congress has favored legislation that prevents even a study of why so many deaths are being caused by guns in America. In fact, one piece of legislation even prohibits a doctor from inquiring as to whether or not there is gun ownership in the home.

Strengthening laws relating to those with mental disabilities and the reporting of those conditions could certainly help alleviate mentally disturbed individuals possessing and using firearms. Strengthening reporting concerning those convicted of domestic violence and those threatening their spouses during or following domestic disputes would be an improvement. Certainly stronger provisions relating to background checks could possibly save one or two deaths by preventing ownership by those who should not have access to firearms, particularly assault weapons containing hundreds of rounds. Why haven’t we already, for example, outlawed the bump stock mechanism that allows a semi-automatic to operate like a fully automatic machine gun? And the president could re-instate the prohibition for gun ownership of those on Social Security for mental disability.

Our form of government sometimes puts us at odds with what we consider a safe environment. Most problems faced by us find solutions through studying the problem. It is very difficult to solve a knotty problem without a study. It’s time we at least urge Congress to throw off the fetters of special interests and at least condone, if not encourage, studies of the problems related to mass killings. Surely there are things that can be done that are rational and do not involve taking guns from the hands of legitimate owners and users.

Carl Parker has practiced law in Port Arthur since 1958. He is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and the Senate in 1976. His e-mail is cap1934 [at] aol [dot] com.

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