Effort Looks for Non-Gun Control Solutions to Violence

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

Violence is one of those things that’s likely to be with us always, and not just in the sense of righteous violence meant to address wrongs. After all, without the bad kind, there’s little need for the righteous kind.


There are people in this world who just like to hurt others. They’re not good people and they seek to use whatever means they have to take from others, to hurt them, to scare them, or whatever else it takes to achieve their criminal goals.

And the idea of gun control really just revolves around ignoring every other kind of violent crime that doesn’t involve a firearm because somehow you believe guns make it worse or something.

In Springfield, Missouri, there’s an effort underway that is focusing on so-called gun violence, but the way they’re hoping to approach it will go beyond such distinctions.

Gun violence has been an ongoing concern for Springfield law enforcement and city residents alike and a recent string of fatal shootings has heightened calls from the community to take action.

Now, a new group of community leaders and decision-makers has formed to examine local solutions to the problem. Formed in February, the Community Partnership of the Ozarks’s Gun Safety and Violence Collaborative aims to assess, prevent and address gun violence in Springfield and promote safe firearm ownership.

Long-time community advocate Francine Pratt, along with Clay Goddard, president of Burrell Behavioral Health’s southwest region, co-chair the 17-person collaborative. Pratt said the collaborative recognizes the importance of focusing on what is possible in the local community, rather than things outside of local control.

“(A) legislative approach is not what we need right now,” she said. “We don’t want to have anyone feel or think we’re coming at this in any way to do with gun control, that’s not our focus, our focus is reducing the number of suicides and deaths by gun.”


Now, the focus on “safe firearm ownership” is likely in reference to things like suicides that are committed by someone other than the gun owner who can obtain that person’s firearm. That’s an issue that we’ve talked about and I have no issue with that.

In fact, since they expressly say they’re not “coming at this in any way to do with gun control,” I think we’re looking at the start of something very good for Springfield.

Especially since that’s not all they’re trying to address.

When you address so-called gun violence in a way that focuses on the tool using it, not the tool itself, you also find that you’ll reduce violence with other weapons as well. I’ve long argued no one feels better because their loved one was stabbed to death rather than shot, so addressing the underlying causes and preventing people from being violent yields benefits beyond this inane focus on guns so many people can’t get beyond.

If guns went away tomorrow, our violent crime rate would still be high. Our non-gun homicide rate is greater than many developed nations’ total homicide rates, after all. Addressing the root causes, particularly at the local level, will do far more good than gun control ever could.


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