"10 modest steps to cut gun violence''.

AFTER the school shooting in Texas - not very many Fridays ago - claimed 10 lives, the incoming president of the National Rifle Association, Oliver North, blamed NOT GUNS but a ''culture of violence'' arising from violent movies and the like.

North fueled the culture by working as a pitchman for a shoot-em-up video game, but never mind.

Meanwhile, Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, was even more imaginative : He blamed too many school entrances and exits, and liberal abortion laws that he claimed had  ''devalued life''.

Really? Folks, look at Japan.

Japanese kids relish the same violent entertainment as Americans, and abortion is widely available. Yet at most nine, yes, 9, Japanese were murdered with guns across across the entire country in all of  2016 - fewer than that killed just so many weeks ago, at the Texas high school.

One reason Americans in their late teens are 82  times more likely to be murdered with their guns than their peers in other advanced nations is simply that we are awash with guns, some 300  million of them.

Yet Congress and President Trump have been paralyzed in part because of the N.R.A. refrain :  ''There's nothing to be done! It's us, not the guns. It's hopeless!''

In fact, there's plenty we can do.

Here are modest steps consistent with the second Amendment and public opinion:

1. Require universal background checks to see if a purchaser is a felon or threat to others. The latest study finds that 22 percent of guns are obtained in the U.S. without a background check, and polls find more than 90 percent of the public supports making these checks universal. Yet the federal government balks.

2. Improve background checks by allowing the federal government adequate time to perform them. At the moment, if the authorities have not completed the checks within three business days, the buyer can get the gun.

More than 80 percent of the checks are completed within minutes, but a small number require investigation.

The shooter who killed  nine people in  Charleston, S.C., in 2015 should not have been able to purchase a weapon because of a drug history, but the background check was not finished in three days - so he was able to buy it.

The Sadness in honor and serving continues to Part 2. !WOW! thanks master author and researcher Nicholas Kristof.


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