The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., should bring three issues to the public consciousness that are long overdue for serious debate and potential legislative action: gun control, mental health treatment and violent video game control.
All three issues repeatedly have had direct and/or indirect impacts on mass shootings in the nation and within weeks of each tragic event have been swept aside because of political fears and possible financial campaign ramifications.
The time for such political fears to decide what is and isn't in the best interest of the nation needs to be over. It's time for politicians to start using their common sense instead of fearing gun lobbyists, video game lobbyists and privacy issues surrounding the mentally ill.
As I have written before, I'm a gun owner with several types and caliber of weapons, but that doesn't mean I believe everyone should be able to walk into a store and buy whatever weapon they wish without having an extensive background check to determine if they've had mental health issues, are a convicted felon, have been convicted of spousal abuse, drunken behavior, drug abuse, child abuse, etc.
Also it seems illogical for one to be able to buy a weapon at a gun show that would require a background check if purchased at a reputable gun dealer. That loophole needs closed
Further it seems illogical for one to be able to buy a carload of weapons to sell them to a third party when that third party legally could not purchase the weapons themselves.
Much to the chagrin of the NRA, years ago Congress enacted legislation banning the sale of so-called assault weapons, but the then Republican-controlled Congress failed to renew that 10-year ban before it expired in 2004. That ban needs to be reinstated.
Simply put, people don't need an AK-47 or an AR-15 to target shoot, hunt or defend themselves and/or their family, and the argument of needing such weapons to keep the federal government from becoming tyrannical is illogical and an overgeneralization with little merit, just as are many of the conspiracy theories now being written on social media and bantered about on the Internet.
Also, it seems illogical that 1,800 gun owners in Wood County need to have a silencer for their weapons. Yet, I'm told that's how many licenses have been issued.
Congressional leaders from both political parties, as well as West Virginia's own Sen. Joe Manchin, a lifetime NRA member and former governor, are getting onboard with the concept that Congress must begin the discussion of all three issues. Failing to do so undoubtedly only will lead to more mass killings and continue the mounting death toll directly and indirectly caused by the three issues.
Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, several schools in the Mid-Ohio Valley were subjected to rumors of violence and bomb threats last week, forcing the schools into a lockdown mode while law enforcement searched the buildings and/or investigated the rumors.
While everyone always is relieved such rumors and threats go unfounded, it still causes unnecessary stress, anxiety and fear to sweep through school students, parents, teachers and lawmen ... and should result in charges of inciting panic being charged against those making the threats and/or spreading the rumors.
Law enforcement has more than enough to do without having to answer unfounded "prank" calls and placing themselves and others in such stressful situations.
The "pranksters" need to be found, charged, prosecuted and sentenced as adults.
Contact Jim Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org