The legal system does not want to tackle the problem of gun violence. Indeed there is no consistent standard of responsibility for those in management positions when one compares various crimes. If you are a manager anywhere, you can be held accountable for sexual harassment in your office even if you did not know it was taking place because you should have known about it. If you say something that someone perceives as sexist, you are held accountable—you might even lose your job. However, when it comes to shootings on campuses, even if you ignore the warning signs, if you know the potential for violence exists, you are not held accountable when an individual known to be unstable erupts into full blown violence—the legal system looks the other way. Bluntly, if you tell an off-color joke, you could lose your job. If you ignore the warning signs for a potentially violent individual and people are injured or killed, no sweat—you will not be held accountable.
There are a number of areas where laws should be enacted immediately as first steps to reducing gun violence. For example:
· 1. A law restricting the quantity of guns that can be sold at one time, such legislation would help prevent trafficking in arms.
· 2. law making background checks mandatory for all gun sales would close the gun show loophole and be a major step forward in keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons.
· 3. law licensing all gun owners and registering all weapons; such a law would promote responsible gun ownership.
· 4. law restricting (and prohibiting) the sale of certain types of weapons and ammunition, such as automatic assault weapons and high capacity clips; this law would help keep such weapons out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill.
· 5. law requiring safe storage of all weapons; this legislation would greatly reduce a child’s access to guns and the all too frequent killing of children.
· 6. law indicting those who engage in straw purchases (an individual who legally buys a gun, but is buying the weapon for someone who is prohibited from gun purchases); such a law would help in shutting down corrupt gun dealers and controlling the secondary gun market.
In the final analysis, until people are held accountable for their actions or inactions when it comes to campus shootings, there is no real incentive to spend the money or select leaders who will help ensure campus safety. The answer then ultimately rests with parents demanding high safety standards at all colleges and universities and financial donors making their contributions contingent on schools putting safety first. Together, if we push hard enough, we can make our children safer than they have been in years past. (To be continued)