Red Flag laws: It’s time for more – posted April 8, 2021

A Letter to Editor –  “Boulder Daily Camera” – pub. April 2, 2021   

While watching CU’s team lose to Florida State, I was told, “Now is not the right time,” when bringing up the King Soopers shootings during a break in the action.

After graduating from CU (B.A., MCD Biology, 1973), I did scientific research before completing medical school (MD, Northwestern, 1978), psychiatric residency (UCSF, 1982), public health training (MPH, UC, Berkeley, 1984) and a health policy fellowship (Stanford, 1984). As an occupational psychiatrist, I help employees with work-related tragedy. Last week, I evaluated five UPS employees following a 2017 mass shooting at a San Francisco worksite. These critical incidents don’t go away overnight.

Our nation’s flags were at half-staff following the shootings in Atlanta when ten people died in Boulder. In the past eight years, America has averaged two mass shootings per month. Pray tell, when would be the right time to discuss another act of senseless violence?

Sandy Hook and Columbine are known for their death tolls, not their curriculum. In response to shooting incidents, SWAT teams deploy with military-style precision. Grief counselors console the victims. The pattern repeats itself. If America brought this same impotent approach to fighting Smallpox and AIDS, people would be dying at epidemic levels.

My state of New Mexico has a “red flag” law. The Boulder shooter’s family could have restricted his access to firearms with such a law. A Federal background checks bill (HR8) passed the House in 2019. 90% of the electorate support the bill, including most gun owners.

Doctors For America (DFA) has proposed the formation of the National Bureau for Gun Safety, akin to the National Transportation Safety Board. My colleagues and I need your support for gun safety laws addressing background checks, red flags, safe storage, assault rifles, and a National Bureau. Now is the time to eradicate our gun violence epidemic.

Dr. Bob Larsen

CU graduate; marching band,1970

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