Mark Caserta: Common sense approach needed on gun safety

23 Feb


Mark Caserta:  Free State Patriot editor


gun control



A parent’s love for his or her child is an indescribable emotion, one which transcends words.

How unfathomable it must be for a mother or father to have a child taken away in a senseless act of evil.

Horrific mass shootings, like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school last week, have become agonizingly common in recent years. Some of our deadliest shootings in the United States have occurred in the last 10 years.

I’ve no doubt those engaged are sincere about addressing the problem, but new laws simply aren’t the answer.

There are no new or proposed gun laws that would have prevented these shootings. Laws only work with law-abiding citizens. That’s a premise that can’t even be argued. Making guns 100 percent illegal would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Yes, the purchase of a firearm is something we must take very seriously. Only individuals properly trained in the use of a firearm should own one. And only those individuals who’ve successfully passed a thorough background check should be able to purchase a gun.

The fact is, guns are readily available for anyone wishing to own one. Per the Pew Research Center, the United States has more guns than any other country with as many as 310 million firearms in circulation. So, while not much can be done to keep guns from criminals, I believe there are some common-sense steps we must take.

First, let’s spread the background check net wider. Currently, background checks are only required if you purchase a gun through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), which includes retailers ranging from gun shops to Walmart. While FFL laws vary per state, you don’t need to undergo a background check if you buy a gun online, through a gun show or a private sale. That needs to change. We must be more responsible given our present-day challenges.

Next, we must use some common sense in eliminating soft targets, or “gun-free” zones. It’s time we conduct security assessments in all schools, churches, movie theaters, etc., and take steps to provide trained, properly armed, adequately staffed security posted at key locations to protect the people. And the excuses about “cost” or “sending the wrong message” have been rendered mute by the expansive loss of life. I’m only concerned about sending a message to a would-be assailant.

We must also, immediately, increase our awareness of our surroundings. If you see or hear something that doesn’t seem right, say something. And make sure your words are heard! We’ve got to watch out for each other!

Finally, be personally prepared. I believe as more people are trained in the use of a firearm and carry responsibly, it will deter criminals and save lives, perhaps yours. Your local FFL retailer will have the information you need.

It’s true, we should live our lives. But we must live them intentionally and with forethought.

These are “last line of defense” measures we must take, immediately. We must never look back and “wish” we’d been prepared.

That’s how tragedies happen.



Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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