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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/15/15

Firearms Harm Reduction

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Police are often not in gun-needing situations as exigent as nighttime home defenders. Whether the officer who killed Tamir Rice was justified by current standards, it seems the time to load a shell into a chamber could have allowed avoidance of Rice's death. Also, Firearms Excise taxes (FAET) now bring in over $762 million/yr. (1)

All of it, including on pistols and ammo (over $250 million/yr.) goes to Wildlife Restoration. But hunters don't hunt with pistols. So advocate to re-purpose pistol taxes for narrow, buyback programs, well-publicized, but restricted to summertime recovery of working pistols, no questions asked, from urban, juvenile, non-suspects, in exchange for cash plus a restricted (no guns) debit card. After delay for legal claims, sell redeemed pistols overseas only or destroy them. A legal owner, prima facia negligent in allowing pistol seizure, must pay a cost - covering storage fee.

Institutional revenge mass killers (workplace or school) tend to self-isolate except for computer rants. So reduction of their harm requires institutionalized "Brothers Keepers" activity.

It works best decentralized, by individual, responsible identification of troubled "brothers," followed by official interventions. Individual computer researcher-reporters on Facebook, etc. can help. So can churches, neighborhood watches, and other volunteer groups.

Official institutionalized Prevention by Intervention (P.I.) task forces, headed by a protective officer, i.e., a police official but including mental health professionals can contact subjects face to face. Some such killers are loners with very poor relational skills. They have to buy guns from dealers, because they lack trusting friends or relatives from whom they can borrow.

A recent study (2) revealed that people who had recently bought numerous guns were relatively highly likely to also engage in angry, impulsive behavior. "Brothers Keepers" citizens, educated to spot signs of severe anger and loneliness, could anonymously report troubled persons to these teams.

No doubt there will be some mistakes and even some abuse. But hopefully federal firearms license law could be modified to require, say, prompt reporting of multiple purchases of magazine fed pistols by the same person. Then P.I. teams engaging in violence risk assessment could direct welfare checks on the residence of the allegedly troubled person. A lone, plain - clothed officer, wearing concealed Kevlar, and with unobtrusive backup, can begin a home welfare check.

1. 1. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, FY 2015 President's Budget, pg TTB-15, "Excise Tax and Other Collections..." table line "2013," Column "FAET."

2. Guns, Impulsive Angry Behavior, and Mental Disorders, JeffreyW.Swanson, et. al., Behavioral Sciences and Law, Wiley Online 8 April 2015

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I could be Bernie Sanders older brother by similarity. I was born in Manhattan, 1940, he, about a year later, in Brooklyn. I too am a white male American. A retired college professor of philosophy. We both were born of Jewish parents. I was (more...)

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