In his column from Pennlive last Friday, John Micek claims that the recent Washington D.C. Navy Yard shootings have failed to spark any serious political discussion concerning the issue of gun violence prevention (read the full article here).

Micek expresses his frustration over the lack of political attention in that the shootings have “highlighted flaws in the background check system that’s supposed to bar a clearly troubled person with a history of gun-related violence from obtaining a weapon.” Aaron Alexis, the D.C. shooter, passed both state and federal background checks and was able to obtain a gun and ammunition from a store in suburban Virginia despite having been arrested for gun-related offenses in 2004 and 2010.

Micek hypothesizes that the lack of political attention is most likely due to two significant events following the shootings. The first was a series of security reviews ordered by the federal government and, the second, an announcement that the Obama administration will review security procedures for government contractors.

Following a plethora of negative comments over the column, many directed at him and containing false assumptions, Micek published a response on Pennlive yesterday clarifying his stance on the issue of “gun control” (read the response here).

Micek’s stance on “gun control” includes forbidding the mentally ill from owning or handling guns as well as expanded treatment and screening of the mentally ill, requiring reporting of lost and/or stolen guns, stricter penalties for straw purchasers, support for the closing of the Florida loophole in Pennsylvania, and a ban on assault weapons. Micek explicitly states that he denies any support for taking guns out of the hands of legal owners and does not support a repeal of the Second Amendment but does claim that an unfettered right to owning a gun is unreasonable and must be restricted in much of the same way as the First Amendment in order to protect the general public.

One suggestion offered by a reader, which Micek validates as “fairly reasonable” was to:

“Permit responsible ownership of non-automatic, non-explosive firearms” and support “mandatory double-digit sentencing for non-fatal violent crimes committed with firearms; to include ‘no-fire’ firearm crimes, where a firearm is forcibly used as a weapon in a manner other than pulling the trigger (beating, choking, etc.; Mandatory life sentences for a fatality arising from the intentional and felonious discharging of a firearm.”

Micek invites anyone to join in on the conversation. To put in your two cents, follow one of the links above and leave a comment on the bottom of the page.

Here at CeaseFirePA, we believe there is a lot of energy in Pennsylvania and the nation on this issue. Last week marked a very successful summit of a coalition of volunteers in Harrisburg last week.