Lawmaker tries something other than gun control

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

In many, if not most cases, the first thing any Democrat wants to do in the wake of a mass shooting is pass gun control.

Don’t get me wrong, Republicans will often jump at the chance as well, but it seems that Democrats are hardwired to use any tragedy they can to restrict gun rights for people.

However, in Colorado, one lawmaker recognizes the reality that gun control is difficult to pass, but there are things that perhaps can be done instead.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse will announce on Tuesday a three-pronged approach to preventing, blunting and recovering from mass shooting events, with the unveiling of a trio of bills he will introduce in Congress just weeks after the first anniversary of the Boulder King Soopers shooting that claimed 10 lives.

The first bill in the trio is the Safe Workplaces Act, which will direct the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to conduct a study on threats of violence in the workplace. The study would be used to guide the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in creating a rule on best practices to protect employees from threats of violence.

The STOP Violence Act would provide federal dollars to put in place security measures at potential trouble spots. The bill expands the Department of Justice’s anti-terrorism program to include the location of active shooter events.

“It could be hiring and training security guards, it could be shatterproof glass and other physical and structural improvements,” Neguse said. “It’s establishing partnerships with law enforcement to improve response times.”

Lastly, the Help for Healing Communities Act will help with recovery after a traumatic event, with community engagement programs, as well as behavioral health services, getting funding. Neguse pointed to the #BoulderStrong Resource Center that arose in the wake of the Table Mesa King Soopers shooting last year as a model for providing support and resources to families and neighbors impacted by gun violence.

Now, understand that Neguse isn’t an opponent of gun control by any stretch of the imagination. He’s proposed legislation that would prevent people who commit “violent misdemeanors” from being able to exercise their gun rights for five years, which is a gross infringement of people’s Second Amendment rights.

However, one thing he said that bears mentioning:

“Gun violence prevention legislation has to be the primary goal,” Neguse said. “But if there are commonsense steps that we can take today to better protect our communities then we ought to provide resources for these cities and counties and these establishments that would like to take these steps.”

Now, “gun violence prevention legislation” means gun control–let’s not fool ourselves here–and I disagree with him there. However, if there are steps we can take that we can find common ground on, then we should be talking about them. Let’s work on what we can get done rather than trying to browbeat the other side for not just rolling over on the big stuff.

Because you see, gun control isn’t going to happen. We’re not going to allow our rights to be stripped away because of the actions of a few, especially when a state like Colorado has many of the measures we were told were necessary to stop things like the King Soopers shooting.

So no, we’re not interested.

But bringing something else to the table, something that doesn’t involve our gun rights, and we’ll at least be willing to listen.

Neguse might be horribly wrong on gun control, but he’s right to at least try this.