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Ken Rineer: We have lost our moral compass
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Ken Rineer: We have lost our moral compass

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We continue to hear the same old tired, false solutions that will not stop violent people from committing acts of violence.

The $1 million question is, what will?

Certainly there is no silver bullet. We have a lot of problems. But I can tell you the suggestions columnist Sarah Garrecht Gassen made in her Aug. 27 column, “Gun violence and personal responsibility,” will not put a dent in violent people acting out and here is why:

First, she suggested banning firearms for anyone who suffers from “severe mental illness” and those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.

Both are already written into federal law. Anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence along with those who have been adjudicated as “mentally defective” are banned from owning firearms and ammunition.

Second, magazine bans. Most suggest a limit of 10 cartridges, although New York went with seven. What do you do about the millions of magazines that have a capacity greater than 10 already in circulation? The only way this may be effective is making possession illegal, seizing them and finally prosecuting anyone who does not comply. Of course, two, five or more 10-round magazines can be as effective as a single 30-round one.

Third, “universal background checks.” We currently have a background check system, yet many of the perpetrators who have committed violence with a gun purchased it legally, with a background check.

Again, what do we do about the millions of firearms already in circulation?

Those who call for more laws will not admit it, but I think the ultimate goal is total, individual and firearm registration. Government must know where every gun is located, who has it and how many they have. Without a comprehensive gun owner list, if a sale occurs without the background check, the owner of the firearm cannot be prosecuted for the felony transfer.

Without taking that step, “universal background checks” will be ineffective.

What happens when these laws ultimately fail their advertised outcome?

The resulting outrage, just like today after nearly every shooting, I think would result in a call for the next logical step: Seizure of every firearm everyone owns.

How can confiscation work when we cannot even keep weapons and drugs out of our prisons?

It goes without saying these suggestions are a direct assault on liberty.

So what can we do?

Until we address the causation of people-on-people violence, we will see little, if any, change.

We have lost our moral compass and are submersed in ourselves.

“People who develop narcissism, this over-blown sense of self and self-importance, they really do think the world revolves around them and so posting on social media the crime is very consistent with that. It’s part of a general effort to say, ‘I am the center of the world and anyone who stands against me has committed a horrible outrage.’ It’s called narcissistic injury,” said Jim Garbarino, a Loyola University psychologist who studies the criminal mind.

We certainly have more than our fair share of narcissists.

Only people can exercise self control to the moral code that “We shall do no harm to another who wishes no harm upon us.”

In closing, let’s treat the illness, not its symptoms. Let’s stop talking about more laws and start talking about who we have become as a people.

Ken Rineer is the executive director of Gun Owners of Arizona. Email him at

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