Four States Form “States for Gun Safety”

In the wake of last week’s mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left seventeen people dead, President Donald Trump proposed that some school teachers and athletic coaches undergo firearms training and carry a firearm on school campuses. This is an element of the agenda of the National Rifle Association (NRA). It is one of the most politically powerful lobby groups in the nation, with five million members. It has always been against more stringent gun control laws, citing the Constitution’s Second Amendment that guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. The NRA was a significant group that helped Trump get elected president.

President Trump also called for reinforcing the nation’s mental illness facilities in an effort to weed out potential mass killers. His reasoning is to get these people out of our communities and institutionalized. Both of these measures the president proposes are quite controversial.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University, who has studied mass killers, says of this latter Trump proposal, “it is ridiculous because you can’t put half the people in the country with a mental disturbance in mental hospitals. Most of these shooters are angry, antisocial individuals you cannot spot in advance, and even if you could, you don’t have the right to institutionalize them.”

Experts claim that none of the mass killers in the U.S. in the recent past had a mental health history that would have alerted authorities to institutionalize them. These massacres include Columbine High School (12 dead), Sandy Hook Elementary School (26 dead), and Virginia Tech University (32 dead).

This week, governors of four Northeastern states announced that their states had joined together to form the “States for Gun Safety.” These states are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. They already have strong gun control laws and are “among the lowest rates of gun deaths per capita in the country” according to the New York Times report. But now they intend to do more by pooling their efforts.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday in a conference phone call with the other three coalition governors and media reporters, “This is a federal government that’s gone backwards on this issue. President Trump has pledged allegiance to the NRA, and he’s delivered for them.” Cuomo said Trump’s recent, proposed, federal budget cuts funding for the federal background check system for firearms.

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