Not everyone should own a gun

Dylann Roof ought not have had access and the same is true of many others

The author, a resident of Butte County, is a CN&R contributor and author of the recent cover story about Senate Bill 277, “Sparring over the needle.”

What happened in South Carolina is so predictable. Another horrible mass shooting by a young, white male. Wait a few months and it will happen again; the response, the same.

Already, I have seen his tired argument: If only somebody in that historic church was armed, the assassinations could have been stopped. Right-wing radio talking head Michael Savage raised the question that the government did it. Just another “false flag” operation. Then he said perhaps it was the opiate recovery medication suboxone that caused the kid to do it. When in doubt, blame the American Medical Association and psychotropic medications.

In fact, blame everything in order to deflect. And provide the same old answers: More guns make us safer! Psychotropic medications create crazed killers! There are gun laws already on the books that would have stopped this! Gun-free zones lead to mass shootings!

But never, ever question why a 21-year-old, unstable, unemployed, racist young man had a reason to own an easily concealable weapon. Never say that the love of guns, the worship of the false Glock idol and the political power of the NRA contribute to this problem.

There was an opportunity to prevent the tragedy in Charleston. A friend of the shooter actually took Dylann Roof’s weapon when he became concerned that his friend was making bizarre threats. He ended up giving the gun back to Roof because he was a felon and couldn’t be found in possession of a gun.

In California, under Assembly Bill 1014, which was signed into law last year, this friend could have called the authorities and reported Roof’s threats. The police then could have investigated and taken the weapon. Now that’s a sensible gun law.

The NRA used to be an organization that promoted gun safety. By now we certainly should have figured out that some people should not own a gun. Rather than viewing every gun law that is proposed as a threat to the Second Amendment, the NRA could get back into the business of gun education—including when to call the police and report that a fellow gun owner is acting bizarre and making threats.

Protecting the public by calling the police when someone is acting unstable and making threats is the responsibility of all of us, whether we own guns or not. The NRA certainly could make this part of gun education a higher priority. And they should get out of the way of passing sensible gun laws.