Monday, March 05, 2018 by JD Heyes
Some Trump supporters and conservatives became alarmed on Wednesday over some comments the president was making during a bipartisan meeting with top Republicans and Democrats in the Oval Office regarding new gun control measures following the Parkland, Fla., school shootings.
But for the life of me, I can’t see how any one of the new proposals being discussed will do anything to actually stem this epidemic of atrocities at our nation’s schools.
Except the one thing that’s not being discussed: Lifting the current 20-year ban on federal funding of research into learning what role mental health plays in these shootings.
As reported by Fox News, President Donald J. Trump seems to be in favor of a couple of ideas that have support from members of both parties:
— Raising the legal age limit to buy long guns from 18 to 21, a measure opposed by the National Rifle Association (and me);
— Banning so-called “bump stocks,” which Trump indicates he’ll do via executive action (which I do agree with).
— “Strengthening” gun background checks;
— Reviewing the FBI’s ‘tip line procedures;’
— Recommending that Republicans put nationwide concealed carry into stand-alone legislation, not any new legislation specifically aimed at dealing with the epidemic of school shootings.
First of all, as I’ve explained, I get the bump stock ban (remember, the Vegas shooter reportedly used them). Without playing the Left’s game of deciding who should and should not “have” things that are currently available legally and commercially, I just think bump stocks are a blatant attempt to get around current laws that regulate machine gun ownership. Banning them would only affect a tiny percentage of gun owners, but that said, the ban won’t stop school shootings. (Related: Gun parts CONFISCATION begins in Massachusetts as state to order “bump stocks” destroyed or turned over to government.)
I’m also not certain what “strengthening” background checks comprises of or how it will be done. Other than checking whether or not a prospective gun buyer is legally prohibited from buying and possessing a gun, what more is there to do? Maybe the president is considering requiring all gun purchases — including those conducted privately, outside of a licensed gun dealer — to be subject to background checks. But the existing system is only as good as the data put into it; also, background checks aren’t going to stop school shootings.
Raising the legal age to buy a long gun from 18 to 21 is nonsensical to me for the simple reason that 17-year-olds who join the military are given real ‘assault weapons’ to train with; why would we ban these individuals from buying a long rifle for another four years? Anyway, this legal change won’t stop school shootings, either.
But, as the Washington Times notes, allowing federal funding of research into what role mental health plays in these attacks just might achieve the desired result. And fortunately, the Trump administration signaled this month that the president may be considering lifting the ban:
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said he sees room for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund some research — but not actual lobbying efforts.
CDC cash could spur the country’s major research universities, which have been reluctant to spend their own money on the issue.
“We’re in the science business and the evidence-generating business, and so I will have our agency certainly working in this field, as they do across the broad spectrum of disease control and prevention,” Azar said at a hearing in Congress last week.
Democrats say they will push hard for the lifting of the ban; Republicans not so much but only because this year’s spending bills have already been written and they don’t want to endanger their passage.
That said, studying the mental health connection to these shootings has real-world implications and may have even prevented some of them, including the latest one in Florida; alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz was reported to have substantial mental health issues.
The time has come to find out. We can’t keep losing our kids to killers at school.
J.D. Heyes is editor of The National Sentinel and a senior writer for Natural News and News Target.