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Why gun-control efforts fall short

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Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides, but that is not why we demand gun control. We want control because of the decades of mass murder-suicides, often carried out by and against young adults. Unlike disease or old age, death by gunshot is swift and robs us of our chance for goodbyes. For parents and siblings, losing a loved one that way is torture.

Guns have always been available in America, so what caused mass murders to skyrocket since the turn of the century?

For that answer we have to see what else changed this century: fame, easily obtained by likes and followers. Youth today believe that fame and attention is more important than achievement or character. Look at who is popular on TV, internet channels and magazines.

We adults are guilty too. Mass shootings dominate the news and social media, the killer's story read by millions. We click and share, teaching big media this is what we want.

Lately, I've stopped clicking, stopped reading about the latest tragedy. I want these shootings to stop. I want gun ownership to be considered reasonable and responsible again. For that point, I think the latest legislation proposed will be ineffective, if it even passes Congress.

As cleverly worded as any banning legislation is, greed will find ways past the definition of "bump stock," "assault rifle" or "magazine." Search online for "non-NFA firearm," and you will find that manufacturers already market firearms that fall under no regulatory definition.

Our country already accepts that for safety, the FDA approves drugs before they are sold, and the FAA approves airplanes. So it makes sense that if anyone wants to sell a gun or gun accessory, a to-be-created federal agency with industry, police, gun rights and public safety oversight would determine whether the product's primary purpose is hunting or home/self-defense. If it passes, that design is legal for sale.

Would this cultural and regulatory shift stop shootings immediately? I doubt it. But maybe in our lifetimes, we'll reach Dec. 31 and cheer our first year this century without a mass murder carried out by gunfire.

Iain Burnett lives in Forestville.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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