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So you want to know what suggestions pro-RKBA people have put forth to stop our MASSIVE GUN VIOLENCE PROBLEM!!!1!eleven!

Here ya go. These are the ones I could throw together right now without turning the diary into a giant block o' text that not many would read.

If you want the TL;DR version, scroll all the way to the bottom of the diary for the numbered list.

Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a DKos group of second amendment supporters who have progressive and liberal values. We don't think that being a liberal means one has to be anti-gun. Some of us are extreme in our second amendment views (no licensing, no restrictions on small arms) and some of us are more moderate (licensing, restrictions on small arms.) Moderate or extreme or somewhere in between, we hold one common belief: more gun control equals lost elections.  We don't want a repeat of 1994. We are an inclusive group: if you see the Second Amendment as safeguarding our right to keep and bear arms individually, then come join us in our conversation. If you are against the right to keep and bear arms, come join our conversation. We look forward to seeing you, as long as you engage in a civil discussion.  

So what's first on the list o' fixes? Let's take a look at Hartford, Connecticut, eh?

First, a diary written by Shamash.

Hartford CT has finished the first year of a program to reduce gun violence, and the results are in. A 40 percent drop in gun homicides, and a 30 percent drop in first degree assaults with a firearm. I am a strong RKBA advocate, yet I approve. How is this possible?

The short form is that Hartford law enforcement worked to:

* predict retaliatory shootings
* identify potential future shooters or victims
* establish a regional stolen firearms protocol
* target the city's most violent criminals

Note what is missing from this list (and the news story). Absolutely no mention of making it harder for law-abiding, peaceful citizens to acquire firearms.

The link from inside the diary has this:
The shooting task force, created July 5, 2011, as a way to quell escalating gun violence in Hartford, has made more than 214 felony arrests and more than 50 misdemeanor arrests since its inception, according to the city. Members also have seized 76 firearms.

"In June 2011, shootings in the city of Hartford were up 13.9 percent and climbing at a rate to exceed 180 to 200 victims for the year," officials wrote in the task force's 2012 report. "After the inception of the shooting task force, shooting victims decreased rapidly and the year ended with 39 fewer shooting victims than the previous calendar year."

Ok, so we can focus on the bad guys and get a huge reduction in homicides. Imagine that. We could apply this to those people who lie on their 4473s.

What's a 4473 you ask?

Well, when you buy a firearm from an FFL (that's a federally licensed firearm dealer), you have to fill out a form and then the FFL runs a background check on you through NICS (FBI background check). If you lie on the form, you're breaking the law. Thousands of people fail this background check. Prosecute them.

Marijuana! Let's talk about marijuana. Here's another diary.

A new study from San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice entitled  California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate To Record Low, and reported by Aaron Sankin, finds that between 2010 and 2011 California experience a 20 percent reduction in juvenile crime bringing it to the lowest level since record keeping started in 1954.

The study finds much of this drop can be attributed to the decriminalization of marijuana.  

In that one-year period, the number of arrests for violent crimes dropped by 16 percent, homicide went down by 26 percent and drug arrests decreased by nearly 50 percent.
Can you imagine what would happen if we legalized it completely? Decriminalization brought it down that much, just for juveniles. That's impressive. Think about the gang/cartel angle as well. One less illicit source of funds for some of the more violent offenders out there.


Project Exile.

From Wiki:

Project Exile was a federal program started in Richmond, Virginia in 1997. Project Exile shifted the prosecution of illegal technical gun possession offenses to federal court, where they carried a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison under the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, rather than in state court. Note that federal law (18 U.S.C. sec. 922 & 924) provides for a penalty of ten years in federal prison for being a "prohibited person" i.e. a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, as well as for falsifying information in order to obtain one, or furnishing a gun to a convicted felon.
And here's a shocking piece of info: Supported by both Brady and the NRA. Scary...
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Brady Campaign were both early and vocal supporters of Project Exile,[2] The NRA lobbied the U.S. Congress to help secure $2.3 million for emulation of Exile in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden County, New Jersey, where similar firearms-related violence has plagued the communities. The NRA has remained a strong supporter of the program as its focus is on severely punishing all gun crimes especially illegal possession rather than by making gun purchases more difficult.[2] NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre stated "By prosecuting them they prevent the drug dealer, the gang member and the felon from committing the next crime....Leave the good people alone and lock up the bad people and dramatically cut crime."[2]

Poverty. It seems like the more poor an area is, the higher the crime rate. So, let's start actually building up our communities. Let's put better social safety nets in place. Jobs! Rebuild the local community, infrastructure wise. This would help produce more jobs and our living conditions would improve all around. It would also give places for our kids to go and things for them to do so they don't get into bad habits at an early age. This seems like common sense to me and it's already a liberal/progressive plank.

Education. Primary ed firearm safety courses. You teach kids at a young age to do something and then reinforce it, it becomes a part of how they look at things. "Look both ways before you cross the street" is a great example. I started shooting before I was 10 and I had the rules drilled in. It really does become second nature. Follow these safety classes up in secondary ed as well.

Education, part II. Free or cheap firearm safety courses for adults. Think hunters education, but for anyone (not just hunters). People who want to buy a firearm can take the basic class for cheap (so it's not a burden for those who are less fortunate) and actually learn the safe way to store, clean, shoot, etc.

Education, part III. Better education at the primary, secondary, and 'higher level'...err..levels would help with that whole 'job' thing I mentioned earlier in the poverty reduction section. Not to mention an educated public is good all around. (Think we might pick up some Democratic voters maybe?) Having a good education means you have OPTIONS. You don't get stuck in that small hick town flipping burgers and making minimum wage. You don't get stuck in a poverty stricken urban area, working for Walmart. You have the ability to go where you'd like (maybe start your own business) since you have OPTIONS.

Mental health. I'd prefer to see this covered through some sort of universal health care. Single payer maybe? Well, that or better.

But how does mental health help with violent crime?

Well, the GOS's (GOS'?) own Greg Dworkin has an interview up. Watch the whole thing.

Look at a couple of the more infamous mass shootings.

The Clocktower Sniper.
This was one of the first mass shootings I ever remember hearing about. Charles Whitman mentioned various things in his suicide note that leads to a belief in his mental illness. He saw a doctor once. Only once. Perhaps better mental health care could've prevented this shooting. A doctor could've diagnosed his problems and they might've found the tumour in his brain. Yes, I'm guessing at this, but we know what happened when it wasn't diagnosed.

A different example, more recently in the news: Jared Loughner. After he was arrested, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. To be clear, I'm not saying all schizophrenics would do something like that. [As an aside: my uncle (who I've mentioned before) is a schizophrenic. We (the family) removed all of the firearms from his house and he was able to obtain help.]

People who knew Loughner said he underwent a remarkable personality change. He was kind, caring, and sweet. This doesn't strike me as someone who would go commit mass murder. If you look at this article, you'll notice quite a few people saying that he changed as a person.

When he was suspended from Pima Community College, the school sent a letter to Loughner's parents stating that if Loughner wished to return to the school, he would have to "obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others," the school said in a statement.
If he had received help, maybe he could've gone back to being that sweet, caring, kind young man. We know what happened when he didn't.

So to sum up, in no particular order...

  1. Concentrate on the bad guys
  2. Prosecute those who attempt to buy firearms illegally
  3. Marijuana legalization
  4. Project Exile
  5. Poverty reduction
  6. Education
  7. Mental Health
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