Letter: Efficacy should be litmus test for new gun laws

February 5, 2013 

Now that President Obama has had his say on gun control, I propose the following litmus test for his proposals: Would this proposed legislation or executive action have reduced or eliminated the body count at Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech and other mass violence locations?

To answer that question, we need a detailed analysis of the conditions and events preceding the shootings. In engineering terms, this is called root cause analysis. The objective is to identify where in the events leading up to the incident an intervention could have been successful in preventing the incident.

Examples: Take the proposed background checks on private sales of weapons. Were any of the weapons used in these incidents acquired by the shooters through private sales, and would the background check have prevented the sale? Probably not. Would working with schools to improve their response capability to violence work? Probably Yes.

Such a litmus test based in factual analysis of the events will short circuit a lot of the rhetoric and political agendas that have nothing to do with dealing with violence in our schools.

TIM LeGORE, West Richland

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