As a UC Berkeley-trained demographer and epidemiologist, I look at the total cost of any event, not just the immediate dollar price. In recent years the total cost of gun violence has not been well documented because of action by Congress.
I applaud President Obama for suggesting that comprehensive public health studies be conducted to estimate the actual cost of our gun policies. I would guess that gun-related violence costs us billions of dollars every year. Consider the cost of emergency room services, long-term care, rehabilitation and medical and mental consequences. Add to this the cost of police, fire and other emergency services and the future earnings of those who die or become seriously disabled.
Finally someone is taking a rational approach to an irrational situation.
On Dec. 22, 2001, while aboard an airplane from Paris to Miami, Richard Reid attempted to light a fuse attached to his shoe in which explosives were hidden. Since then, all passengers boarding airplanes in the U.S. are required to take off their shoes and have them X-rayed.
How many people in this country have died because of gun violence since 2001? How is it that the airport shoe inspections did not require congressional authorization? Why can't the ownership, use and sale of guns be controlled by Homeland Security? After all, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is doing a lousy job of it.
Gary M. Barnbaum
I doubt the U.S. will ever have any meaningful gun control, but it might help the Republican Party to at least show us that it is not monolithic on this issue. For example, some Republicans could point out that George H.W. Bush resigned his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Assn. in 1995 when he thought the organization was getting wacky.