Summit Daily letters: Time for sensible gun control (column)
February 22, 2018
Time for sensible gun control
First let me say I am a military veteran. So I am not "anti-gun." In the military you are trained to handle weapons safely and there is a mandatory marksmanship test.
Many people, including POTUS, are decrying the most recent in a never ending series of atrocities by someone using guns. POTUS expresses, "We are all joined in your suffering" to the families that just buried their children. I'm sure that is great comfort to them. He went on to promise to "tackle the difficult issue of mental health." I take him at his own words. So let's "tackle" the issue of mental health and gun violence.
I have a proposition for the Congress and/or state and local governments. Let's enact the following:
1. Mandatory back ground checks for any past offenses related to mental instability to include:
a) Violence against another person domestic or otherwise
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b) Multiple social media postings that express anti social or violent threats against others
c) 3 or more convictions for DUI, drunk and disorderly conduct or substance abuse. Have they not shown a repeated history of potential mental instability?
d) Current mental health counseling for violent tendencies or anti social behavior
e) Conviction of a weapons related crime, gun or otherwise
2. A national minimum 5 business days waiting period before you can take possession of a firearm, even if a background check is clean. This will allow for a "cooling off period." According to the FBI, currently 92 percent of gun sales occur instantly, if a current check is clean. 1 gun only per permit. Multiple sales are currently allowed.
3. Same requirements above should apply to firearm purchases at a gun show. Sellers currently don't have to meet the requirements of a firearms dealer. This is the "gun show loophole". They would need a National license as a firearms dealer and have access to the NICS database. Currently they do not. This should be a National requirement to prevent out-of-state purchases.
4. Increased age limits for all weapons purchases. The Florida school shooter couldn't get a drink at a bar or rent a car from a national company. But at age 18, he legally bought an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.
5. Current prohibition of firearms possession by a felon remains in place.
6. Convictions of unlawful firearms offenses, mental health issues or violence against another person while serving in the military will carry over to the new requirements. The military will be required to report same to the National Database.
7. A National "Mental Health" Database will be created. All law enforcement, judicial and mental health counseling agencies that deal with the issues in #1 above will be required to report same. Appeal standards will apply once the individual has been given a "clean bill" by a licensed mental health counselor. Certification that this database has been checked will be mandatory for a gun purchase.
I realize that many will feel this doesn't go far enough. Others will feel it goes too far. But can't we agree that they can serve as a basis from which to legislate? Endless debates that go nowhere will not stop bullets.
Regrettably, we have some mentally ill people in our society that apparently have relative easy access to guns. Waiting for the next tragedy is not an option. It's not a question of if, but when and where. It is past time to act.
Keeping our students safe
Preparing for the worst? Is this what we have come to as far as school safety goes?
What about prevention? It is all well and good to talk to the children about what happened in Florida.
I understand the anguish. I lived less than 3 miles from Columbine when that tragedy happened. The terror and sorrow were palpable.
What I want to know is what the school district is prepared to do to PROTECT our children? At Silverthorne Elementary, parents and visitors must buzz to gain entrance. No such system exists at the middle school or high school. Why not? In order to enter the 5th Judicial District Court in Breckenridge, one must pass through a metal detector. Do our school children deserve less?
Who are the armed school resource officers? Are they police officers, trained to use the weapons they carry? What about it, Julie McCluskie? What say you, Kerry Buhler?
Breckenridge's pay parking paradox
I've been trying to understand why the Town of Breckenridge tries to encourage weekend and holiday skiing visitors to stay in town until after 7 p.m. to avoid the I-70 traffic, which is a good idea, but then they are charging to park in town until 8 p.m. I would think that if the town wanted to keep people around for a while, which is good for business and truly helps them avoid the I-70 traffic jams they would advertise free parking after 4 p.m. or 5:00pm which would help to keep people in town. Am I the only one who is confused by this? My wife and I like to go out to dinner in Breckenridge and elsewhere like anyone but I'll be honest, when we think about where to go I say, parking in Breckenridge is such a hassle why don't we just go to Frisco instead and not have to deal with those parking stations and all that and more often than not thats what we do. It's not that the parking rate is very high its just a pain in the butt to be dealing with those stations on a cold night in the dark. As a resident of Breckenridge I know full well that the town does not need to charge for parking between 4:00 pm and 8:00pm, charging all day is good enough to meet the goal of trying to prevent people from hogging a parking spaces all day long. One other thought is, you know Frisco has some very good restaurants and the parking is free.
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