'Do something' to protect citizens

Michele Murphy

Aug. 12, Riverside, California: A 33-year-old highway patrol officer shot and killed during a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle, a convicted felon, opened fire shooting up nearby cars on a freeway and injuring two more officers.

Aug. 4, Dayton: Nine dead and dozens injured in a 32-second barrage of automatic weapon gunfire. Shooter's acquaintance who had purchased body armor and 100 rounds of ammunition for him arrested for assisting him.

Aug. 3, El Paso: 22 killed and 24 injured while shopping at Walmart by a gun-wielding domestic terrorist who had driven 650 miles to commit murder after warning of a "Hispanic invasion" of Texas on social media.

Do legislators really want to continue to ignore or deny that America has a gun violence issue to resolve?

Following the murders of 17 students and staff members at a Parkland, Florida, high school Feb. 14, 2018, I wrote about the need to enact sensible gun safety legislation. My suggestions paralleled those of the International Association of Chiefs of Police position on firearms policy.

The U.S. Senate and the Ohio legislature have continued to ignore the vast majority — including many gun owners — who support universal background checks and “red flag” laws.

Will the latest killings and attempted murders finally get them, ahem, off their butts?

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is ignoring calls to reconvene to consider a background check bill passed by the U.S. House and sitting on his desk for months. He may find it more difficult to ignore fellow GOP senators who are under pressure from their constituents to do something. If he is looking at the 2020 election map, he just might finally have the incentive he needs. While it incenses many that the killing and injury of so many innocents, including police officers, would not have been motivation enough, I guess anything that gets him moving will have to do.

Hardliners on both sides of gun legislation/Second Amendment debates need to be held accountable for the high human cost of their unwillingness to “do something.” Compromise is not a four-letter word, not when it comes to reducing America's gun violence epidemic and saving lives of school kids, teachers, workers, cops, shoppers, movie and church-goers or young people out for a night that is supposed to be fun.

The following are highlights of what police chiefs want to see to reduce gun violence. The complete text can be found at: https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/2019-05/IACP%20Firearms%20Position%20Paper_2018%20(1).pdf

Create a mandatory five-day waiting period prior to completion of a handgun purchase.

Close the gun show loophole and make background checks mandatory for purchase of a gun.

Ban assault weapons.

Prohibit the mail order sale of bulletproof vests and body armor to all individuals except sworn or certified law enforcement officers.

Prohibit sale of armor-piercing ammunition.

Create a federal firearms offender registry, similar to the sexual offender registry, for those previously convicted of a felony firearm violation or a misdemeanor that involved violent or threatening acts with firearms.

Prohibit concealed carry weapons on U.S. college and university campuses.

Provide federal resources to enable greater prosecution of individuals for Brady Act violations.

Permanently prohibit gun ownership by juvenile offenders whose crime would prevent them from owning a gun as an adult.

Oppose any federal legislative proposals that would pre-empt individual states’ concealed-carry weapons (CCW) laws pertaining to other states without meeting that state’s requirements. (Note: Ohio has reciprocity agreements with 26 states. Ohio lawmakers are considering whether to drop the eight-hour training requirement, background checks and the duty-to-report provisions from the law.)

Oppose any efforts to remove silencers (suppressors) from the purview of the National Firearms Act, under which these devices have been registered since 1934. (Note: Ohio has allowed suppressors while hunting since 2015).

If Ohio's politicians don't act, we can. A petition to put expanded background checks on the ballot as early as November 2020 is being circulated. Voters could decide the issue if elected representatives fail to do something.

Michele Murphy is a regular columnist for West Life.

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