New gun legislation in Lansing not the answer to killings

A Wednesday article by David Eggert of The Associated Press states that “licensed gun owners with extra training could legally carry inside schools, churches, bars and other pistol-free zones under hotly contested legislation that was approved Wednesday by the Michigan Senate, days after the Texas church massacre.”

Eggert wrote 25 Republicans voted for the main bill, while 11 Democrats and one Republican opposed it. GOP Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof of West Olive, said the recent mass shootings in Texas and Las Vegas highlight the need to act.

“I believe citizens have the right to be free and safe and secure and to defend themselves and their loved ones,” he told the AP. “Responsible, well-trained, licensed gun owners may be one of those deterrents to those individuals who seek out gun-free zones as opportunities to commit heinous crimes.”

The time to act on this situation came years ago; before Texas, or Las Vegas, or Orlando, or San Bernardino, or Charleston; before a mentally ill 20-year-old killed 20 children and six adults in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut — and the list goes on and on.

This has gone on for far too long. When it comes to the never-ending stream of tragedy that our country has been faced with, we can no longer place the blame entirely the terrorists themselves — we must give some of it to the politicians who turn a blind eye and do absolutely nothing to fix the real issue.

A 2016 article by CBS News states, “Even though it has half the population of the other 22 nations combined, the United States accounted for 82 percent of all gun deaths. The United States also accounted for 90 percent of all women killed by guns, the study found.

“Ninety-one percent of children under 14 who died by gun violence were in the United States. And 92 percent of young people between ages 15 and 24 killed by guns were in the United States, the study found.”

A 2010 study by Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway of the American Journal of Medicine revealed that the firearm homicide rate in the U.K. was 0.0; Japan, 0.0; Germany, 0.1; in fact, of the 23 countries involved in the study, the U.S. had a higher rate than all the other countries combined, at 3.6.

“Real life is not an action movie. The reality is you’re much more likely to have an accident in a preschool, in a day care center, in a school” if the legislation becomes law, Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, a former teacher from Flint, said in a debate over the legislation.

Let’s be clear here. The Mining Journal has long supported the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. But the availability of guns is clearly not the issue here. America, with about 5 percent of the world’s population, owns about 45 percent of the world’s firearms that aren’t in the hands of militaries. Put another way, America is choked with guns and still these mass killings go on and on.

This legislation alone isn’t going to fix the problem. Mental health issues must be addressed by politicians and others involved in the process.