Petzold: Gun Violence can be prevented

Megan Petzold

Lately, the United States has endured so many traumatic experiences because we are not taking care of the mentally diseased in our country and we are not paying enough attention to the people who are buying weapons. It’s almost like we are asking for all the things that have happened to happen.

In the case of the recent mass shooting in Texas, Devin Patrick Kelley received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014 after attacking his wife and family. He was sentenced 12 months in confinement. According to Fox News, Texas gun laws should have prevented Kelley from purchasing the two guns he did purchase from two separate Academy Sports + Outdoors stores. Texas gun laws prevent people from buying a gun when their background check shows that they have been in jail or have been convicted of a felony. Kelley’s domestic abuse charges alone should have been enough to stop him from purchasing two guns.

We could have prevented his purchase of the guns by submitting more of his background into the system, so he didn’t have a small, possibly unnoticeable blemish. If his 12-month confinement was submitted into the system, he would have been restricted from a 20-foot radius around the gun section of any store.

This could further be prevented by taking care of those who have a mental disease or those who have served in our military. Often, those who are involved with the military have PTSD, depression or traumatic brain injuries. Instead of letting the VA’s (Veteran’s Affairs) throw pills at our veterans, we should take the time and effort to help them recover from what they saw when protecting our country.

As a report by NBC news states, “The gunman accused of the worst mass murder in Texas history escaped from a mental health hospital during his stint in the Air Force — after making death threats against his superiors, according to a 2012 police report.” The same article states that Kelley was reported sneaking guns into restricted areas and was sent to the mental health hospital after fracturing his baby stepson’s skull and assaulting his wife.

With his many death threats, his attacks on his family, his escape from the mental health hospital in El Paso and his attempt of bringing guns onto Holloman Air Force Base, Kelley was obviously in need of some serious help. There must be a way to keep him in a mental health hospital until they feel he has overcome his many issues. If the mental health hospital couldn’t handle his aggression, prison could. In a prison, Kelley would be restricted from injuring others, he would be fed, and he could receive help for his disease. Prison would have the power behind it to keep Kelley in their facility and away from the public.

In the end, the best way to prevent the major massacres that have been occurring recently is to take better care of those who are mentally ill and/or those who need the care of professionals after enduring something as traumatic as war.