Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Will Latest School Gun Violence in Ohio Make a Difference for PA House Bill 1523?

Today in Ohio, there are families making funeral arrangements for three children who died at the hands of another high school student allegedly using a semi-automatic gun stolen from an uncle’s home. This senseless tragedy once again points to why this country needs stricter gun control laws.

Young lives lost and families forever changed. Where is the outrage over this latest school shooting and national demand for stricter gun legislation? How many of our children have to die because of handgun abuse and assault weapon ownership? Yet, the pro-gun activists will continue to argue against any laws that may place regulation on their gun ownership; defending their firearm rights at all costs.

Will the tragic shooting at Chardon High School– which left three teenagers dead and two others hospitalized – encourage gun reform in America? Doubtful. For a few days as the shooter’s motives are analyzed, his childhood reviewed and his family scrutinized, there will be national attention and a renewed debate overAmerica’s gun laws.

For those of us that want stricter gun controls in this country, we can hope that the national discussion will lead to change, but as we saw in the aftermath of the high-profile shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, that probably will not happen. Although gun-reform legislation was introduced in Washington in the wake of Giffords shooting, it was never considered.

Do we really believe that is what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the second amendment of the US Constitution? The amendment was designed to protect the right of the people to keep and to bear arms but could the writers have imagined the America of 2012? A country that protects the rights of Americans to own semi-automatic guns and assault weapons.

In a couple of weeks, our state house legislators will have the proposed PA House Bill 1523 on their agenda for discussion. HB 1523 would penalize cities and towns across Pennsylvania for their commonsense reform that supports keeping illegal guns off the streets. As amended, proposed HB 1523 legislation grants legal standing to the NRA, allowing the pro-gun organization to sue local municipalities with lost-or-stolen gun legislation, just like individual gun owners.

Illegal guns should to be off the streets of America– lost or stolen guns need to be reported. This week, a 17-year old shooter in Chardon, Ohio used a stolen semi-automatic gun to kill three high school students. Our children should be safe in their schools. According to Kid Shootings, over 3,000 kids are killed annually by gunfire and 17,500 are injured . . . every day eight children die from gunshot injuries in this country. Where else in the world does this happen – only in America.

Will the latest school gun violence in Ohio, make a difference in the minds of Pennsylvania legislators as they review proposed House Bill 1523?

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  1. Thank you, Pattye, for your sensible post.

    As a co-author at Kid Shootings, I see reports every day from all over America where children get their hands on guns and, often, harm themselves or others or take the guns to school with them. More needs done.

    We need to mandate safe storage of guns in homes with children (Child Access Protection laws), which would have prevented the Ohio shooting, or, better yet, advocate that families with at-risk teens like the Ohio school shooter not have guns in their homes at all.

    In a nation where, in most states, a person can purchase a gun from a private seller without a background check or even showing ID, we have a long way to go to protect our communities against gun violence.

  2. Pattye – I am a conservative generally so one would think I would fall into the “Hell no” camp on this. However, I do think we need to overlay the 2nd amendment with some common sense so I am in favor of this.

    I understand that bad people kill not guns. I would like to see them try to commit mass murder with a bow and arrow though. Let’s make it a challenge.

    Seriously, the 2nd amendment was written in a day and age when the gov had every right to be afraid of England and/or France attacking. Since we had no real army and were essentially broke at that time, it made sense to promote gun ownership. Even at that, the 2nd amendment reads that a “well regulated militia”……

    Now, I will get crushed by others.

  3. MD I understand fully your point. One thing that concerns me is that once we overlay provisions of the constituton it will be the break water for whomever to use it as precedent to marginalize the const. and amendments. Does this make sense?

  4. It is a good point Flyers. However, I don’t think this bill makes guns illegal or takes them away from law abiding people. That is my problem with some. They act like any regulation is a direct threat to their personal freedom.

  5. the 2nd amendment is in place for all Americans. But all Americans don’t live in the same environment. That is what makes some of this more difficult, regardless of your stance. I for one and a believer of upholding all or our amendments, it’s what makes America, America.

    But think of this in a few ways. When I say guns in the city, you think of gangs and ramped violence. When I say guns in rural Kentucky, you think of pick-up trucks with gun racks in the back window and hunting.

    Access to guns in most of the country is typical. However in our area locally, it’s not nearly as common. It makes the arguments more sensitive. The question is what do we do to keep track of guns and keep people accountable for their guns.

  6. I agree with you that we should have stricter gun laws. Heck, I think guns shouldn’t even be manufactured at all. I guess you could call me anti-gun. But, I can definitely understand where the opposing argument is coming from. Take, for example, the fact that fewer underaged children in European countries are alcoholics, but drinking age is lower there. Maybe if U.S. teenagers were more knowledgeable about weapons earlier on, they MIGHT not have this problem.

  7. Neal,
    I agree that education is a huge part of gun safety. they spend a lot of time talking about not doing drugs and why, maybe they should tech gun safety in school.

    This also reminds me of a saying that goes something like – If EVERYONE carried guns, people would be less likely to use them.

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