Gun Control Research Offers An Obvious Initial Law! Let’s Get It Done!

By Donald A. Collins | 4 June 2022
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

As these horrible heartbreaking shootings continue, the do nothing non governing GOP leaders including Trump and Cruz keep mouthing its mindless rhetoric about the right to bear arms and other excuses which please their base.

Thinking about my last negative Op Ed on nothing really happening on gun control I felt truly depressed.

However, as I read the front-page June 4th Washington Post story entitled “Why mass shouters are mostly young men”, it seemed like an epiphany! That word I define as a sudden intuition for inspired action, like Churchill’s steadfast courage to stand against Hitler.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/epiphany

This Post article reports that the brain development of these young teen age boys is incomplete, saying “the prefrontal cortex, critical to understanding the consequences of one’s actions and controlling impulses, does not fully develop until age 25”.

The article explains fully the scientific rational for this evolving condition as it cites in case after case how the life circumstances of these youngsters, such as being bullied by classmates, triggered these attacks.

These long-known facts are vital to taking effective action.

As this Post article tells us,

There’s a familiar pattern to the young men’s trajectory to violence.

“I think it is this kind of coming out of adolescence: not knowing your place in the world and being depressed and isolated and more vulnerable to what you are reading online,” Peterson said.

Peterson is a criminologist who studies the life histories of mass shooters, and when she has gone back decades later to interview perpetrators who committed an attack in their teens or early 20s, “they don’t even recognize the person that did that.” She said the perpetrators describe feeling “disconnected” from their murderous earlier selves.

Under the U.S. legal system, age is a critical part of how laws are written, and justice is meted out. Most states allow people to drive at 16, federal law allows voting at 18 and drinking at 21.

The Supreme Court itself addressed the importance of neuroscience in how crime and punishment should be viewed. In Roper v. Simmons in 2005, the majority held the death penalty for juvenile defendants, who are younger than 18, was unconstitutional. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that a “lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility are found in youth,” quoting one of his own previous decisions.

Kami Chavis, director of the criminal justice program at Wake Forest University School of Law, said the country needs to use that same logic when it comes to regulating the tools those young people use to commit their crimes.

“We need to pay attention to the scientific evidence that suggests these young minds may not be capable of having the serious responsibility of owning an assault rifle,” she said.

[There have been over 200 mass shootings so far in 2022]

You can read the full article here.

While these facts have been known for some time, the rigid ideology and political fears of voting reprisals from pro-gun advocates has so far stopped this major opportunity for quick bipartisan action.

Legislation raising the legal age for gun purchases to 25 must also include severe penalties for any gun sales to those under 25. Of course, the gun lobby which has bought the fealty of so many GOP pols would not be happy, but then restricting the sale of automatic weapons would not be in this legislation, although it must be in the future.

How tough is that? As the GOP resistance grows to citizen welfare at so many levels—allowing choice, open voting laws, anti LGBTQ+, day care funding for working mothers, etc.— this prompt response to the overwhelming public demand for gun control action would in effect be an elixir for the national spirit of despair gripping our country.

Why not do it quickly?? Obviously, there would remain a long list of other useful and now not politically possible things to do to deal with gun control. You can daily read or hear the list, so I won’t repeat it here.

But IF this one ACTION to restore some faith in the integrity of our Congress so badly maimed by Trump’s years could happen, accolades to both parties would follow!!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?: Leaders Commit to Reduce Human Population” and “Vote”.

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