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Gun Control Laws

After the Florida school shooting and the Austin bomb attacks we are in another frenzy of blame and quick fixes. Instead, it’s time for good analysis and sound solutions.  More gun control laws are not the answer to preventing such shootings.  My friends who own guns, including a retired police chief, say we already have plenty of gun regulation laws; however, the problem is poor enforcement.  Passing more laws that won’t be enforced is not the solution.  Strictly enforcing the laws, we have is a partial solution.  However, it’s not realistic to expect 100 percent enforcement.  The other part of the solution is identifying potential shooters early and apprehending them.

School shooters have typically been mentally deranged students or former students.  Family and friends of the Florida shooter reported the suspicious behavior of the shooter to local police and FBI, but those reports got ignored and discounted.  Law enforcement agencies must give higher priority to such reports, investigate and follow through to a resolution.  I realize law enforcement agencies receive many frivolous reports.  With good screening criteria, false reports could be identified and eliminated.  Police man hours spent identifying and apprehending potential shooters is a lot more efficient than the vast police man power required to respond to an active shooter.

Schools need better entry security.   Requiring all students and all bags to pass through metal detectors is a minimum.  That precaution alone would have prevented the Florida shooting.

As in Austin terrorists bombing by a single lone wolf in country resident, is a lot harder to defend against.  Law enforcement agencies did a great job identifying and finding the bomber quickly.  When targets are individual people or people chosen at random, there’s no way to identify potential targets in advance and protect them.  Large people events such as the Boston Marathon can be identified as potential targets and protected.

Lone wolf bombers such as the Austin bomber, don’t need to communicate and coordinate their plans; therefore, they aren’t vulnerable to wire taps.  However, they do have to make elaborate preparations by buying bomb making materials and building the bombs.  One way the Austin bomber was identified was by the sales records for the chemical components of the bombs, which, by law, the seller was required to keep.  Again, better enforcement is needed.  Such sales should be reported immediately to law enforcement, not days later after the bombing started.  The bomber had two renters in his house.  Again, why didn’t the renters report his activities assembling the bombs?

Citizens of Israel have had more terrorist attacks then any other country.  Their first line of defense is reporting by citizens of suspicious activity and prompt response by police to investigate and follow through.  Israel has had mandatory military training for all men and women for decades.  No doubt that training includes how to recognize suspicious terrorist’s activity and report.  We need a similar emphasis on citizen duties to observe and report.  Police can’t do it alone.  We need the eyes and ears of our 300 million citizens working as our first line of defense.

The third type of threat is foreign terrorists’ groups such as ISIS.  Those groups are more vulnerable to good police monitoring and intelligence.  They have to communicate with each other by cell phone and email which are easily monitored and intercepted.  They have to have travel documents for entry into the US.  Good background checks can identify those potential threats.  They also have to buy weapons, ammunition and bomb making material in the US, which good law enforcement will detect.  They have to have housing in the US, which requires supporters in the US.

Detecting and identifying foreign terrorists, lone wolfs, and mentally deranged people is complex and the solution is not simple, such as more gun laws.  The first line of defense for all three threats is 300 million alert citizens who recognize suspicious behavior and report it promptly followed by prompt, thorough police follow through.

Ralph Coker

Bio:  Ralph Coker is a retired petroleum refinery plant manager.  He writes on business, economic, political, military and social topics.