The mass shooting at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon has predictably prompted President Barack Obama and others to call for yet more stringent gun control laws “to prevent this from ever happening again.” Never mind that criminals, by definition, do not obey existing laws, and it will happen again. I would venture that no law abiding, gun-owning citizen has ever shot another person except in self-defense or by accident. Yet, in order to feel good about “doing something” to prevent future mass shootings, many people feel that we need yet more gun control laws… which will not work.

The liberal Democrats have governed Chicago for decades, and they have enacted some of the strictest gun control laws in the country there. So, how are those strict gun control laws working out for the general population? I read online that there were 14 shootings in 15 hours there late Monday through early Tuesday of this past week. And over the July 4th weekend, 82 people were shot and 14 killed in Chicago according to CBS News. Yes, you read correctly – that’s 82 people shot! It is obvious that more than a few people feel that the only way to settle an argument is to shoot the other person.

The availability of guns in this country is not the root cause of the mass shooting problem. Probably 99.999% of existing guns are never used to commit a robbery, assault or murder. A gun never kills anyone until a person loads it and pulls the trigger while aiming it at someone. Other than drug and gang wars, the mental state of all of the mass shooters is the root cause of gun violence, not the gun itself.

I would submit to the readers and the politicians who want to “do something” that they should consider the following way of addressing this problem. Beginning in grade 2 and continuing every other year through grades 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, an age-appropriate anger management course should be mandatory for every student in every school in the country. Students who fail certain criteria in the course should be subject to further evaluation by appropriate psychological personnel to determine the cause of the child’s anger and remedial steps should be taken to correct them. Besides reducing possible future mass shootings, this type of program could also reduce the amount of bullying and racial tensions within school systems. Call it a “three-fer” if you will.

I attended a seminar at Quinnipiac University last fall on gun control and posed this possible solution to several members of state health organizations who were conducting the seminar. After I stated my proposal, the mental health speaker who called on me paused for several seconds and then replied, “That’s not a bad idea.”

So how about it, lawmakers? I issue this challenge to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy: Is this worthy of your efforts to “do something” about mass shootings without further trampling on the rights of the law-abiding citizens who never use guns in anger?

Craig Hoffman is a retired industrial engineer and quality manager who lives in Cheshire.

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