Editorial: Gun violence forum misses opportunity as gun policy declared ‘irrelevant’ | Editorials
A recent gun violence forum squandered an opportunity when organizers said they would not discuss gun policy.
The forum, which included local law enforcement and elected leaders, was designed to discuss how to make people safer from the types of mass shootings that have resulted in multiple deaths, including four people shot on campus from Saint Francis Hospital on June 1.
But forum moderators declined to discuss topics that might include legislative measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Tulsa Crime Stoppers hosted the event, and its executive director, Karen Gilbert, told members of the public that discussions of gun policy and gun reforms were “out of place.” Instead, she said discussions would focus on responses to active shooter incidents.
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Panelists discussed how to make public places such as schools harder targets for armed assailants. They urged school officials to have more frequent conversations about how to prevent mass shootings and what to do if an attacker shows up.
A great responsibility seemed to be placed on the potential targets of an attacker.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said schools should consider limiting building access to single entry points, installing bulletproof glass and employing more officers of resources.
We understand that these measures may limit what a shooter can do. But these sentiments leave out important facts about the mass shootings.
While many of the worst mass shootings have occurred in schools, others dating back to the 1980s have occurred in workplaces, shopping malls, grocery stores, places of worship, a movie theatre, a nightclub, a military base and, as seen here, a medical facility.
A mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas in 2017 killed 58 people and injured 546 others.
All of these locations had varying levels of security and unique vulnerabilities. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to protecting people from mass shootings, as each murderous incident brings its own variables.
We agree that in the current American climate, preventive measures must be taken by potential targets. But we cannot make every public space a fortress.
A common theme in all of these shootouts is that the gunmen often had quick and easy access to powerful weapons and plenty of ammunition. Law enforcement and elected officials should advocate for comprehensive legislative solutions to gun violence. And as Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin recently said, maybe it’s time to revisit some laws and policies.
Audiences want tough, honest conversations, as Kay Malan of the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action said, “I feel like even though these agencies are very important and we need them in times of crisis , we need much more proactive work on the front-end to prevent these crises from happening in the first place.
Regarding the prevention of mass shootings, Kunzweiler warned the community: “Let’s start talking about it. We agree. But we have to talk about everything even ideas that might be politically inconvenient.