The school shooting in Connecticut has set off heated discussions about gun control (“Slayings heating up debate on nation’s gun control laws,” Dec. 18). The far more difficult but pertinent discussion should be about ways to create an effective system of help for those who suffer from mental illnesses.
The shambles we call our mental health system makes it difficult for sufferers and their families to get the help they need.
Depending on their illness, sufferers are left in agony, to act out in ways that are upsetting to everyone or dangerous to themselves and others. Sustained, thoughtful effort does not lend itself to grandstanding or posturing, such as we get from wrangling about gun control.
Make more use of confinement
We used to put deranged people in mental institutions, but not so much anymore because they have “rights.” The rest of us can do nothing about them until we become victims. Then it’s too late.
How many more innocent people have to die before we are willing to do something about the sick people in our society?
Lawmakers must ban assault guns
I am furious over the shootings in Newtown. Most of the victims of this unnecessary violence were children ages 6 or 7. Some brave teachers were callously mowed down by a person who had access to weapons that should be banned.
I am not attacking the Second Amendment, but the Founding Fathers never envisioned the proliferation of and easy access to the destructive automatic and semi-automatic weapons that exist today. No one needs an AK-47 or similar weapon to protect property or hunt.
It is past time for the cowards in the U. S. Senate and House to take a stand against their big-money masters in the National Rifle Association and make it illegal to buy, sell, or own these unnecessary weapons. The penalty for doing so should be painful enough — prison and fines — to be a real deterrent.
People who are as horrified as I am should demand that their legislators get a backbone and ban these weapons.
Toughen gun ownership rules
To drive a car, one needs to get a license, pass a test, and insure the vehicle. To possess a firearm, a person also must pass a test.
Certain health and drug issues should deny access to a firearm. Certain types of guns should be excluded from what an ordinary citizen can possess.
If a person is denied the right to possess a gun, and someone else sells or lets the person have one, the seller or lender should suffer the same punishment as the person who commits a crime with the weapon.
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