07.08.16

Mailbag: Problem is access to guns (Glendale News-Press)

I couldn't agree more with Rep. Schiff's assessment of gun violence and the power of the NRA to dictate legislation (or the lack thereof) regarding guns. And, once again, California leads the way with the recent passage of several sensible gun control bills.

But it's not just Californians who support sensible gun control legislation. A large majority of Americans, including gun owners and NRA members, agree that we need universal background checks and that people on the terror watch list should be prevented from purchasing guns legally.

We've heard many untruths from the NRA and their congressional lackeys about why we should not regulate guns, including "guns don't kill people, people do" (they don't mention that people kill thousands of people every year with guns!), and that mass shootings are carried out by terrorists (failing to mention that terrorists succeed because they could purchase high-powered automatic weapons and unlimited amounts of ammunition, and that many mass shootings are not committed by terrorists).

The biggest problem is the access to guns, including handguns (which are not used for hunting, and which kill more adults and children than instances in which they are used for protection) and, of course, (semi) automatic rifles. We can address this epidemic if the 90% of Americans who support sensible gun-control laws demand that their representatives buck the NRA and pass such legislation. If not, then they should be voted out of office.

As a behavioral scientist, I can tell you that when you combine human nature and guns, many people will die or be injured. But, you don't need a behavioral scientist to tell you that; just read or watch the news every day. Since we can't change human nature, we must change the culture of guns.

Henry D. Schlinger, Jr., Ph.D.

Glendale