By Kathleen Sterling
Texas has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, all designed to prohibit “destroying the vitality or life of a child.”
-Mandatory ultrasound imaging
-Parental consent and notification for minors
-Four prior visits to a doctor
-The ability to sue private citizens who “aid and abet”
-Imprisonment for the doctor performing illegal abortion
-Penalty for failure to report
However, Texas has some of the most relaxed guns laws in the nation. You can carry a gun at 18. You can carry a handgun in a public place without a license to carry. There are no restrictions on who can carry a long gun such as a rifle or shotgun.
Last week, while the NRA was holding their convention in Houston, an 18-year-old Texas resident killed 19 and wounded 17 others at a local school. His mother worried about his mental state, but he legally bought an AR-15 at a licensed gun shop. So the question arises, when does love of life trump love of guns?
In a perfect world, Texas and other states with loose gun laws, would apply the same rules:
-Mandatory pre-screening for mental instability, warning signs and red flags
-Parental consent and notification if a minor attempts to buy a gun
-Four prior visits to the gun shop to determine the reason for the purchase
-The ability to sue the person or store who sells a gun
-Imprisonment for the dealer who sells an automatic rifle to a minor
-Penalty for not reporting who is buying an AK-47.
And when do social media platforms get involved? I can’t mention the word “bomb” in a Facebook post without several agencies picking it up and following me. Why not flag the words “murder,” “suicide” and “shooting?”
Look, I’m not necessarily opposed to owning a gun. I went to school in Arizona for a few years way back when it was the wild west, and every boy in high school had a gun rack in his truck. They were for rifles, which were for target practice and hunting varmints. We ourselves went to the range and did some shooting. But the only reason someone buys an AK-47 is to hunt humans.
I still don’t understand why they are legal anywhere for anyone.
In all these incidents there is also obviously a mental health issue. We saw that here in our own backyard years back with Elliott Rodger, the Woodland Hills teen who shot up Santa Barbara. All the warning signs were there – he had mental health issues since he was eight years old. He was 22 when he killed six students and shot himself.
And as we know, mental health is also at the forefront with the homeless issue.
I don’t have any of the answers. I can only view how horrific these incidents are, and speculate on how laws could be changed to prevent more carnage.
The only way we, as ordinary citizens, can effect change? Vote. Tuesday is the primary election here in California. Though we don’t have any gun laws on the ballot, we have candidates who differ on issues such as abortion, crime and the homeless.
Most don’t have the forum I do in a newspaper column to air their frustrations. But what you do have is a pen and a ballot.
If you too, are frustrated with the way our politicians are handling the issues that affect you, vote.
If you too, are worried about the further restrictions being put on our civil rights across the nation, vote.
If you too are tired of crime and the homeless living on our streets, vote.
You have the most powerful tool in all the world in your hands. The ability to vote freely for what you believe in, what you want changed, and what you want your life, your town, your state, to look like.
Vote by mail, vote by drop off, vote in person. This Tuesday, however you do it, just get out and vote.