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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Preventing Shootings -Tax Ammunition

Yet another, and another and another preventable shooting of innocent people. These tragedies are happening with rapid fire regularity. All of them preventable. If they were the result of H1N1 Bird flu, we'd hear about widespread pandemic panic. 

Instead, the dead and traumatized are now lined up in a queue of preventable incidents, all victims of unbridled Second Amendment rights. Today reports another in these horrible events:

Saturday January 25, three more people are dead as a result of another mall shooting in Columbia, Maryland. This isn't downtown Baltimore, folks, where people can shrug off street violence like a pesky mosquito. Oh no! This shooting is in upscale Columbia.

(CNN) -- Gunfire erupted in a Columbia, Maryland, shopping mall Saturday morning, leaving at least three people dead, according to the Howard County Police Department's Twitter account.

Just three days ago, another shooting homicide happened at Perdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

According to CBS Chicago, shots were fired after a fight took place in the parking lot of the electrical engineering building. Though the building has been cleared, the university has advised students and faculty to seek shelter in place. ABC News reported that one person was taken into custody.

Only  two days ago, a gunman in Gorham, Maine surrendered after a standoff at the University of Southern Maine. A USM student reportedly threatened to shoot people in a fraternity house before barricading himself inside. Fortunately, he surrendered before anyone was harmed but the incident spread community wide terror.

We're not living in Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet, if the location of these shootings were removed from the report, an unsuspecting reader might think the stories were about war zones. 

Since hundreds more innocent people this year are absolutely destined to be killed in gun violence incidents, I suggest Americans take action by demanding for all ammunition to be taxed at ten times its value. For exasmple, if one bullet cost $3, the actual taxed amount would be $30 per round of ammunition. A Saturday night special gun purchase might hold 6 to 8 rounds of ammunition (I assume). Therefore, the ammunition to fill one gun would be between about $200. All tax revenue from ammunition sales would be dedicated to improving mental health services. Money should be dedicated for the care of chronically and persistently mentally ill people, for veterans, and victims of post traumatic stress syndrome, or to education about critical incident stress, and for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

Of course, there's one potential pitfall with taxing ammunition. When buying ammunition becomes more expensive than gun owners can afford, the tax revenue will be reduced to nearly nothing. Nevertheless, the incidence of gun violence deaths might well save hundreds of lives. Wow, just imagine that!

It makes perfect sense to tax ammunition. Each state can establish gun tax laws while Second Amendment rights will not be harmed.  

There must be a solution to the public health hazard of unregulated gun ownership. Taxing ammunition should be an opportunity to support the rights of innocent people who are unknowingly in harms way anytime a deranged person with a gun puts them or their family in danger. Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association gun lobby is so influential that even common sense possibilities are not allowed freedom of speech.  

But, for each gun violent incident in the growing queue, there should be an equal line up of attempts to stop this deadly public health menace. Tax ammunition. Please. Let's just do it. 

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