Gun laws won’t end problems with teens

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2000

When people take time from their already busy lives as moms and make the journey to Washington, D.

Saturday, May 20, 2000

When people take time from their already busy lives as moms and make the journey to Washington, D.C., to let their leaders know that they are concerned about an issue, there is no question that those politicians should pay attention.

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The recent Million Mom March brought hundreds of thousands of mothers and other concerned people to the nation’s capital to get everyone from congressmen/women to the president to think about guns and how to keep them out of the hands of children.

There was a reason that the march drew such interest. Over the last few years, there have been hundreds of stories about children who were killed deliberately or accidentally because guns ended up in the hands of children and teenagers.

And while there is some need for reform of the gun laws that govern this country, that is not the end of the story. Stricter registrations and a waiting period won’t stop the problems that are ending the lives of many of the nation’s young people before they even start.

March against guns if you want to – there is a value here, too. But, while you are calling for gun reform, think, too, about what made those children pick up those weapons in the first place.

Some of the recent killings were truly accidents, children who just were curious and found a gun. But, most of the recent gun violence that has made the news – and continues to horrify the nation – comes from children who were either disturbed or who came from horrible homes.

There are children who are not cared for properly at all socioeconomic levels, and there are many others who are troubled because of the lives they lead. That neglect can be anything from overindulgence to excruciating peer pressure to outright abandonment. And any of those children could live right next door.

So, while a nation speaks out against guns, perhaps it is time to work on the environment in which today’s children are growing up, too. Perhaps a return to a few old-fashioned values might not be such a bad idea.

And, if millions of moms and dads join hands to help the nation’s children, perhaps there soon won’t be a need for marches – or 12 funerals for students who died at the hands of classmates who would not have been stopped by any gun law.