(This article appears as Op-Ed in Florida Today, this date)


Here we go, focusing on “control” as a means to fix the nation’s problems with gun violence. Government leaders, to one degree or another, offer the perennial answer which is to control gun ownership by people who have a history of mental illness and/or felonious behavior. We’ve been doing this for many years. How’s it going so far?

     Now, the House of Representatives is considering new legislation which will improve background checks, ban high-capacity magazines and create red-flag laws entitling local police to remove guns from people believed to be a threat. Well, something is better than nothing. But it will not reach the heart of the problem. Nothing is really going to change.

     Year after year, decade after decade, we’re constantly focusing on “gun control,” instead of “gun accountability” as the issue in need of attention. Background checks are important, but they do not identify people who have severe mental problems unless they’ve already been incarcerated, and then it’s too late. Most of the recent notorious shooters had no past record by which a background check would mean anything. The real issue should be “accountability” and not “control.”

     Guns are certainly dangerous instruments, but they are also needed for self-protection and we must never deny a law abiding citizen their 2nd Amendment rights. But there is an alternative, if politicians and the NRA had the guts to implement. That is, treat every gun as it were an automobile. Every owner should receive due process after passing similar requirements that protect others, as well as themselves, when cars are on the road.

     American citizens possess two instruments that are responsible for the majority of violent deaths in America; Cars and guns. But there is a vast difference between the two regarding accountability. Automobile ownership has stringent accountability requirements while guns do not.

     When someone owns and operates an automobile, he/she must provide records that they have a license to drive. They must also show status of insurance plus a title of ownership when purchasing from a dealer or a private party. Same as with cars, private sales should be recorded for accountability. Nothing in the 2nd Amendment, which guarantees rights to gun ownership, prohibits any of these things. It’s simply a matter of holding gun owners (and car owners) accountable. Things have changed enormously since the 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791, from single shot weaponry to repeating bullets and magazines that can hold hundreds of cartridges.

     Criminals buy and sell guns in the streets. The current proposed legislation would have no effect on that.

     Passing gun “control” and extended background checks will have very little impact on the mass shooting dilemma. It will make some law-makers look good, that’s about all. Thousands of felony crimes in the U.S. are committed using stolen or illegal weapons from the “hot” marketplace. Chicago, among others, is well-known for their random shootings, year after year. According to the Chicago Tribune, as of August 12th, this year 1,692 people have been shot so far in 2019. Most of those guns were bought or obtained illegally by criminal elements with no accountability.   

     The National Safety Council reports that 40,100 people died in vehicular crashes in 2017.  The Center for Disease Control reports 39,773 died by gunshots the same year. A dead heat. The death records are almost identical, so why not accountability?


     Focusing on “control” offers little in terms of doing anything that will actually impact the problem. There are many other issues that we should be focused upon, particularly within inner cities. One would be the dilemma of fatherless kids throughout big cities in America. Studies are replete with statistics and predictable outcomes when young males choose gangs as their adopted family over mothers. And, yes, automatic repeating weapons and large capacity magazines should be prohibited.

     In order to make a real difference, we must invoke accountability as a starting point. That may irk some pro-gun folks, but it’s also hard to argue the logic.



  1. Marshall Frank August 26, 2019 at 9:50 am #


    • Shirley September 1, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

      Thanks Marshall, I got it.

  2. EBB August 26, 2019 at 2:13 pm #

    Marshall: I doubt that our politicians have the courage to pass the regulations you suggest, but I think your suggestions would significantly reduce gun violence in the nation. But, I think that in the future our politicians will be forced to implement legislation similar to your suggestions because gun violence not only creates tremendous amounts of pain and suffering, but it also imposes huge financial burdens on the United States, making the United States economy less competitive.

    In 2018 Michelle Singletary, a Washington Post columnist, included this quote form the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in an article:

    “The enormous economic cost of gun violence”. Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: ““Researchers conservatively estimate that gun violence costs the American economy at least $229 billion every year, including $8.6 billion in direct expenses such as for emergency and medical care.”

  3. Betty Hinds August 26, 2019 at 3:27 pm #

    Thank you for backing me up on the idea for gun accountability. ED TAYLOR, will most likely disagree with you as he did with me when I sent a letter to the editor a few months ago suggesting the very same idea. I still believe it is the best hope for us at this stage.

  4. Don G. August 26, 2019 at 3:31 pm #

    Great article in FT this morning. I agree with you 100%; however, I would go even further. I don’t think any civilian needs military style “assaut” rifles, e.g., AK-47, AR-15, M-16. Also I don’t see why anyone needs clips that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. First of all, the “assalt” rifles are not hunting weapons. They were invented specifically to kill people and nobody needs them for “target” practice. And I can’t think of any reason anyone would need a clip to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

  5. Jack A. milavic August 26, 2019 at 7:17 pm #

    Excellent article Sir.

  6. Charlie Greene August 27, 2019 at 11:12 am #

    Doesn’t rile me Marshall. You’re absolutely right as usual.

  7. Dave August 27, 2019 at 11:13 am #

    Register every owner and firearm??? I’m afraid your a little late to the party, Marsh.
    Adolf Hitler already thought of that one. Driving is a privilege, firearm ownership is a right predating our government. Why is it that the liberal’s only response to violence is to punish the law abiding.

  8. Bob Barnes August 27, 2019 at 11:17 am #

    I enjoyed reading your guest column today, Focus on gun accountability, not control.  You bring a unique perspective to the issue of guns.  Although I disagree with licensing laws being added to or incorporated within the Second Amendment, I do appreciate the professional and courteous manner in which you present your views.It appears to me that most shooters are young and troubled young men. 

    Not a believer in coincidences, it appeals to me to address mental health for this group as a starting point to avoid the mass shootings in the first place. Part of the problem in seeking solutions to the “gun problem” is that most people simply do not know about the Second Amendment even though their ignorance is sometimes eloquent.  Once people understand the Amendment better, they are less emotional and less likely to scream out that “we have to do something”.  “Something” is always a disaster.  The spate of proposed new laws that criminals and the emotionally challenged will not follow is a perfect example of “something”

  9. William Lee August 27, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

    An excellent article. I also agree. I have always felt that guns should be licensed like automobiles. And I am also a proponent of background checks.

  10. Jose August 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm #

    Seems to me you need control in order to hold someone accountable for failing . Without control, what do you use to hold someone accountable. Accountable for what???

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