The two recent mass shootings, one in El Paso and one in Dayton, were horrific and yet not unexpected. According to the major news we have experienced 251 such incidents, this year. Mass shootings include incidents where at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter. The U.S. leads eleven other advanced countries with these types of shootings.

The horrific part of the shootings is understandable, but the not-unexpected part is what we don’t deal with. Every time we have a mass shooting, we hear the calls for more regulations. There must be something we can do to reduce the shootings. Yes, there are things we could do, be we don’t address them. Instead we talk about the so-called related issues, which for the most part — are not related.

We hear about mental illness as a topic that we should deal with to reduce the shootings. Mental illness is a problem that we should deal with, but it will not prevent most of our mass shootings. Women in this country have mental illnesses, so why are they almost absent as perpetrators in these shootings? Other countries have mental illnesses in their societies, so why are they not affected to the degree that we are?

We are also told that violent video games may be the cause, so they should be regulated. The problem with this logic is that all of other advanced nations also have violent video games and they do not experience the extreme numbers of shootings.

This almost uniquely American problem of mass shootings has possible solutions, but to institute any solutions, we need leaders that are willing to legislate. Since 90 percent of the American public believes in universal background checks, that first step should be easy. However, if our elected officials in office won’t do the easy, how can we expect them to really address the problem?

Shannon Bohrer

Emmitsburg

(30) comments

rikkitikkitavvi

Constitutional Amendment Process

The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution. After Congress proposes an amendment, the Archivist of the United States, who heads the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. 106b. The Archivist has delegated many of the ministerial duties associated with this function to the Director of the Federal Register. Neither Article V of the Constitution nor section 106b describe the ratification process in detail. The Archivist and the Director of the Federal Register follow procedures and customs established by the Secretary of State, who performed these duties until 1950, and the Administrator of General Services, who served in this capacity until NARA assumed responsibility as an independent agency in 1985.

The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention. The Congress proposes an amendment in the form of a joint resolution. Since the President does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process, the joint resolution does not go to the White House for signature or approval. The original document is forwarded directly to NARA's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for processing and publication. The OFR adds legislative history notes to the joint resolution and publishes it in slip law format. The OFR also assembles an information package for the States which includes formal "red-line" copies of the joint resolution, copies of the joint resolution in slip law format, and the statutory procedure for ratification under 1 U.S.C. 106b.

The Archivist submits the proposed amendment to the States for their consideration by sending a letter of notification to each Governor along with the informational material prepared by the OFR. The Governors then formally submit the amendment to their State legislatures or the state calls for a convention, depending on what Congress has specified. In the past, some State legislatures have not waited to receive official notice before taking action on a proposed amendment. When a State ratifies a proposed amendment, it sends the Archivist an original or certified copy of the State action, which is immediately conveyed to the Director of the Federal Register. The OFR examines ratification documents for facial legal sufficiency and an authenticating signature. If the documents are found to be in good order, the Director acknowledges receipt and maintains custody of them. The OFR retains these documents until an amendment is adopted or fails, and then transfers the records to the National Archives for preservation.

A proposed amendment becomes part of the Constitution as soon as it is ratified by three-fourths of the States (38 of 50 States). When the OFR verifies that it has received the required number of authenticated ratification documents, it drafts a formal proclamation for the Archivist to certify that the amendment is valid and has become part of the Constitution. This certification is published in the Federal Register and U.S. Statutes at Large and serves as official notice to the Congress and to the Nation that the amendment process has been completed.

In a few instances, States have sent official documents to NARA to record the rejection of an amendment or the rescission of a prior ratification. The Archivist does not make any substantive determinations as to the validity of State ratification actions, but it has been established that the Archivist's certification of the facial legal sufficiency of ratification documents is final and conclusive.

In recent history, the signing of the certification has become a ceremonial function attended by various dignitaries, which may include the President. President Johnson signed the certifications for the 24th and 25th Amendments as a witness, and President Nixon similarly witnessed the certification of the 26th Amendment along with three young scholars. On May 18, 1992, the Archivist performed the duties of the certifying official for the first time to recognize the ratification of the 27th Amendment, and the Director of the Federal Register signed the certification as a witness.

fnfn



The gun deaths including suicides are proportional to the number of guns per thousand people. It is the number of guns, simple as that!



https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156741420818212&set=a.81338043211&type=3&eid=ARA5jjhERlWueIK76HRsS51LjWw5LbIoaCbadMYYVh7fGI69kRNfHEaLLqD6SjznGeO11iiqCMFoEgxJ

GaryBennett

Well said, Mr. Bohrer. If Congress and state legislatures won't follow the will of the people, they must be changed. You have to give the NRA credit though. Any organization who can have so many politicians in their pocket so deeply that they ignore popular policies that would save lives must be master lobbyists. Seems like their time is coming to end soon, though.


gabrielshorn2013

Gary, they represent nearly 6 million members that have a high turnout level at the polls.

hayduke2

More like 3 million!


gabrielshorn2013

Try again hay. Weren't you the one that claimed that American Rifleman only had a 5 million circulation, then I told you that there were 7 magazines to choose from, and a member could chose to get one magazine free with their membership? Add up the circulation of all the magazines.

DickD

Before LaPierre the NRA claimed that their membership was 2.5 million. Since then they claim membership has doubled, but they also have given free membership.


hayduke2

According to the most recent data from the Alliance for Audited Media, an independent group that verifies publishers’ circulation stats, the NRA’s three main magazines had a combined print circulation of 3.4 million in December 2017. Add the NRA’s estimate of Shooting Illustrated‘s circulation, and the figure comes to 3.7 million—a far cry from 5 million. So why aren’t a quarter of the NRA’s members getting their free magazines?


gabrielshorn2013

You may be right hay, as they do not publish their membership numbers. [wink]

thump1202

Mass shootings are not a uniquely American problem. Take our top 4 gun violence cities out, this still leaves in Baltimore, and we are actually safe compared to other countries that have outlawed private gun ownership when it comes to gun crimes. It's easy to blame an inanimate object instead of looking at why people want to kill each other and addressing our societal health along with general lack of morality, assault on manhood, and our society rewarding sociopathic behavior. Why address that when you can just say guns bad, those darn white Christians, and any number of finger pointing nonsense?

fnfn

Source of information?


DickD

"Since 90 percent of the American public believes in universal background checks, that first step should be easy. However, if our elected officials in office won’t do the easy, how can we expect them to really address the problem?"There are three problems, Shannon:  too many guns, Moscow Mitch who refuses to allow legitimate legislation to go forward and Donald Trump - along with his hate filled rallies and tweets.

rikkitikkitavvi

The writers glaring omission of all the psychotropic drugs being fed to our children on a daily basis speaks volumes about her actual focal point of the "problem" with our society.

hayduke2

Excellent letter. It would be a start.

mamlukman

Mental illness and video games are red herrings, probably thrown out there by the NRA. In a study of a large number of actual shooters, only 4% (four...) were video game players. As for mental illness, I forget the exact percentage, but it was around 20%. Now what does that 20% mean? It means that about 20% of shooters (dead or alive) were diagnosed with SOME sort of mental problem before their shooting spree. SOME sort of mental problem doesn't mean they should have been on some watch list; it could have been some minor issue. And if you argue that anyone who commits a mass killing is crazy, I'm right there with you. But if they are diagnosed AFTER the shooting, what good does that do? And, needless to say, you can't diagnose a killer after he's shot dead.



The solution? All the other developed countries have managed to solve the problem: get rid of guns altogether. In the US that would take a constitutional amendment, or a few reasonable judges on the Supreme Court. But that's what we should be aiming for.



And in case you think conservative judges are all gun nuts, do a search on Chief Justice Renquist, appointed by Nixon and made chief justice by Reagan. Here's what he had to say about an individual's right to bear arms: "[it] has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime."

That guy

For whatever reason, the NRA decided it needed to inject an ad into my Facebook timeline earlier this morning. Reading the comments on the advertisement in support of the group was fascinating. So many people voicing their support for the Second Amendment, seemingly without knowing why.



Why? Why do civilians need anything more powerful than a single rifle (for hunting) or a pistol (for self-defense) in this day and age? Why do people believe so strongly that the right to kill is so sacred? Because that is the only thing guns are meant to be used for. They are tools of death. Why is that so important to them?



My hypothesis is that conservative views are most strongly correlated with white, rural, Christian, low-income individuals, as 2016 clearly demonstrated. These groups are isolated and effectively politically and economically powerless. When you feel like you don't have any control over your country or even your own economic fortunes, you latch onto whatever kind of power you CAN get. And the power to end life so easily is an intoxicating one indeed. Second Amendment advocates are so desperate to preserve this power because they may feel that it's the only real power they have.

hayduke2

That guy - I suspect there is a lot of truth in your response.

Dwasserba

Even when Superman was weakened by kryptonite, he didn't buy a gun. The now-mocked eighties' mantra about self esteem may have some validity.

gabrielshorn2013

That Guy: Many of us participate in multiple disciplines in the shooting sports, not just hunting. The gun you would use for large game, such as elk, is far more powerful than the gun you would use for small game, such as rabbits. Deer rifles fall somewhere between. A shotgun used for geese is different from a shotgun used for pheasants or quail, and different from a shotgun used for deer, and different from a shotgun used for trap or skeet shooting. Other guns are used for target shooting. A precision Anschutz 22 LR match target rifle would not be used for hunting. The AR15 platform is one of the top target rifles due to its accuracy an low felt recoil. There are many different rifle target disciplines, including long-range shots over 1000 yards, where most hunting rifles/calibers would not be appropriate. The same goes for pistol shooting. A 22 caliber target pistol is not an appropriate defense weapon. Some people, including myself, have hunted with large caliber pistols. As I have asked here before, do you play golf with just a putter and driver? Sure, it could be done, but not very well. I will continue to play with a full bag of clubs, and keep all of my firearms. Please see: https://competitions.nra.org/ and https://explore.nra.org/interests/competitive-shooting/

As for your assertion regarding class structure of gun owners, wow, you paint with too broad a brush, and off the canvas. I know many people of all different colors, income levels, education levels, and religions, who are from rural, suburban, and urban areas that own firearms and participate in shooting sports. While there may be SOME small portion of the population that fits your disparaging categorization, it is certainly not all, or even a majority.

That guy

Here's the thing though; why do we NEED to keep firearm competitions legal to begin with? We collectively decided to outlaw cockfighting and dogfighting. If a ban on most guns results in a subsequent ban on firearms competitions but also results in a dramatic drop in gun violence deaths, isn't that worth it?



As for my assertion regarding class structure, maybe you're right. I made that post mostly out of anger and frustration, and my biases are showing. I'd have to dig up the research to back up my points, but unfortunately the NRA's lobbying has ensured that Congress will not provide the CDC with the necessary funding to research gun violence in more detail, so such research is sorely lacking.



Ultimately my point is that our system of gun control, such as it is, results in far too many deaths. Something needs to change, and it needs to be a big change.

gabrielshorn2013

OK moderator, the previous post of this response to That Guy did not violate any of your terms of use. Why did you delete it?



That Guy, so by your first statement you would also ban hunting with firearms? If no, then how is a hunter to maintain shooting proficiency without going to a range to practice so we don’t merely wound an animal? Small calibers are used for small animals at closer distance, and larger calibers are used for larger animals at greater distances. If they are at a range practicing, what is the difference between that and keeping score as in a competition? No difference. Trap and skeet shooting is practical experience for upland bird, duck, and goose hunting. If your response is yes to banning hunting, then forget it because that will never happen. The carrying capacity of the land cannot support the number of animals, which will result in their starving. Unless you wish to reintroduce apex predators such as wolves to this area hunting is the most humane method of keeping those populations in check. You do also recognize that the tax on ammunition and firearm sales, along with licensing fees contribute over $1.6 billion to wildlife conservation efforts, don’t you?

https://elknetwork.com/hunting-conservation-paid-hunters/

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/pittman-robertson-wildlife-conservation-fund

As for the NRA lobbying congress regarding CDC funding, does the Federal government really need to fund every study? Isn’t there enough private money available from the anti-gun movement by people like multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg? He has an entire school at Johns Hopkins University named after him that is devoted to public health issues. Colleges and universities find the money to study the issue, so it’s not as if the studies are not being done, and hardly lacking detail. Check out what noted criminologist and author Dr. James Alan Fox of Northeastern University says about mass shootings. He is a frequent guest on CSPAN, and you can find his interviews there. Try also:

https://reason.com/podcast/james-alan-fox-there-is-no-evidence-of-an-epidemic-of-mass-shootings/

https://thecrimereport.org/2019/07/24/fox-without-gun-involvement-americans-shrug-at-mass-killing/

https://web.northeastern.edu/jfox/

As far as guns causing too many deaths, no, it is people who shouldn’t have a gun that cause the problem. Look at a density map to see where most firearm murders are occurring. It is mostly inner city gang activity and drug dealing mostly causing the situation, and those doing the killing are known to the police. Ask the governors and mayors where their concentration of murders are occurring. They are complaining about the prosecutors and judges bargaining down serious time into nothing. Then they’re back on the street to kill again. You will never eliminate murder from human existence. Most firearm murders are single shootings. If not a gun, then there are many other available weapons. Here are the FBI statistics:

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-11.xls

Your proposal is like More’s “Utopia”, the perfect place that doesn’t exist…and never will.

thump1202

The purpose of the second amendment is allowing Americans to defend themselves against government overreach. If you don't understand this basic fact, your knowledge of American history is insufficient or tainted.

phydeaux994

Name one Country in History who’s armed residents (Militias) succeeded in stopping a rogue Government from taking over the Country by force. They always bring in those dang tanks. That whole premise to justify millions of illegal, anonymous guns available to anyone of any age for any purpose is ludicrous. I am not against anyone owning any legal firearm, all they can afford, but there needs to be the name of the person who is responsible for making sure that firearm is secured and used legally in the files of the ATF. And that does not violate any Right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

gabrielshorn2013

Your opinion on what is Constitutional or not is simply that, your opinion. Regarding registration and that data being in a searchable database, would it be Constitutional to have every vote you ever cast to be in a searchable database? Why or why not? Do you believe there is a good possibility of mischief in both cases? Why or why not? Furthermore, please compare fees for registration of each firearm owned with poll taxes, which SCOTUS determined to be unconstitutional. No rights are more important than any other.

hayduke2

No- the purpose of it was to get Va sign and protect slave owners

gabrielshorn2013

You're absolutely correct hay. They had to call out the militia to put down all of those rebellious slaves in Massachusetts during Shay's Rebellion (1786), and in Western Pennsylvania during the Whiskey Rebellion (1791).

That guy

I am well aware of the "purpose" of the Second Amendment. Just as I am aware that Article I Section 2, Article I Section 9 Clause 1, and Article IV Section 2 explicitly permit white people to own black people. We collectively decided that was a bad idea, and amended the Constitution to put a stop to it.



The 18th Amendment prohibited liquor. We collectively decided that was a bad idea, and amended the Constitution to repeal it.



The Constitution needs to evolve with a changing world. The Second Amendment is a relic of a past when the government couldn't kill you with a bomb dropped from 2 miles above you by an unmanned drone. How would having a small armory of rifles and pistols keep you safe from that, I wonder? Based on the number of times weapons have been turned against the government vs. the number of mass shootings that have occurred, I'd say the Second Amendment's original purpose is no longer relevant.

gabrielshorn2013

While I certainly would never support armed insurrection here in the US, you cannot say that armed citizens have not been successful in doing just that. How long have our superior military forces been fighting the Taliban in Afganistan? Something like 17 years, and it's still a stalemate. The Viet Cong (armed political militia) fighting alongside the NVA were instrumental in defeating the ARVN forces of South Vietnam, backed by the US.

If you'd like to repeal the 2A, just get 2/3 of both houses of Congress to pass a bill to change or repeal the 2A, then the President to sign it, and finally 3/4 of the states (38) to ratify the law. Easy peasy, right?

gabrielshorn2013

For the sake of accuracy, I stand corrected by rikki's now deleted post, It's just congress and the states, no presidential signature required. The other route is a constitutional convention, which happens if requested by 2/3 of the state governments.

Thewheelone

Well done, Ms. Bohrer. WE do need to start somewhere.

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