While many are calling for action against gun violence at a national level; here in KY, (at the State level), we can, and must, enact measures to protect our children and our citizens. Here are just five, (5), measures we can, and must, take at the state level to at least start some kind of effort to protect our children; and surely we can all agree on these low-bar procedural changes:
- A 1% Sales tax on all gun and ammunition sales to fully fund Mental Health and Gun Safety programs. Unless we fund these programs, and tie such funds directly into them, they will be targets for cuts by current and future administrations as “too expensive” to maintain, as they would be seen as ‘wasteful spending’.
- Allow healthcare professionals to ask their patients if they own firearms or weapons in their home. This is not a violation of ‘privacy rights’ as such information would still be subject to HIPAA regulations.
- Enact GVRO’s, (Gun Violence Restraining Orders): Allow healthcare workers and local law enforcement agencies the ability to proactively seek preventative measures when a person exhibits warning signs that they may be a threat to themselves or others. (Something that is never discussed is that suicide gun death’s occur at TWICE the rate as gun violence against others.)
Here is how a GVRO works. A healthcare worker or law enforcement official goes to a judge and asks for a GVRO.
If a judge determines someone to be a risk and issues a GVRO, that order will:
- Temporarily prohibit that person from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition
- Allow law enforcement to temporarily remove any firearms or ammunition already in that person’s possession
- Include procedures to allow the person to have his or her guns and ammunition returned, once they are no longer a threat
4. Increase background checks to make sure that those who are purchasing weapons do not have a history of gun violence, or have an active GVRO issued against them
5. Allow both healthcare and law enforcement agencies to share information across agencies. Right now agencies, even interdepartmental agencies, may not be able to see information that another agency from another city, state or county may have which could help stop someone who is a threat to themselves or others. Sometimes this is because systems are incompatible with each other and sharing of information is a technology issue, not even a legal one.
While I agree that we need to ban such things as ‘bump stocks’ and also fully fund CDC studies on gun violence as a public health issue, those are federal initiatives.
Here at the state level, the five, (5), points I outlined above are things we can do here in our state and at the municipal levels here in KY, and we can do them now!
To be honest, I believe these actions are the very least we can do. Again, surely we can all agree on just these very low bar procedural changes. There should be more done, like banning bump stocks, but if we can just do these things here in KY, perhaps we can save the lives of people, or even just ONE life of someone, who would be otherwise at risk of death by gun violence.
I can no longer abide watching grieving mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, friends in anguish and shock over the loss of their loved ones. I cannot and will not stand idle or silent.
We can do these. We just need the right leadership in Frankfort!