A common sense measure

Lawmakers should adopt a voucher system to curb fatal shootings.

Editorial board

Last month, a local business in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis became the site of the one of the worst workplace shootings in state history. The shooter, a former employee of the Minneapolis business, took five lives before ending his own. After searching the home of the shooter, police reported finding anti-depressants and other medications used to treat insomnia. There has been no confirmation yet that the shooter, Andrew Engeldinger, had been treated for mental illness. However, his parents did report concern for their son’s mental health and in 2010 enrolled in a class for families of the mentally ill. Engeldinger isolated himself from his family and ignored their attempts to contact him. When he learned that he had been fired from the company late last month, he returned later that day to kill five of his employees and injure three others.

Gun violence is a perennial issue that receives much lip service but little action from lawmakers. While gun violence is unlikely to be solved by one or even a series of laws, there are a number of practical measures legislatures should pass to help curb fatal shootings. One measure is to require gun buyers to bring two people to vouch for them when purchasing a weapon. This measure is used in Canada, and while not fail-proof; it works as an additional barrier to prevent those in poor mental condition from buying a gun. Friends and family members will be unwilling to vouch for someone they know is mentally unstable, making it hard for him or her to acquire a gun. Deadly shootings continue to plague the U.S., and the voucher requirement is a practical measure lawmakers take to curb gun violence.