Right now, the city of Miami and surrounding Dade County seem to be caught in a spiral of gun violence that doesn’t want to end. Increased community meetings, increased police presence, increased seizures of crime guns – the violence goes on.

              Meanwhile, in addition to an uptick in daily gun violence, there have been two mass shootings, including a drive-by outside a location where a graduation party was taking place that left 3 dead and 5 injured, with no suspects arrested or even identified as of yet.

              What caught my eye in all of this, however, was a bill filed by State Senator Jason Pizzo, which is a unique approach to the problem, but because it was not only a new legislative perspective on gun violence but may have made a difference if it has been signed into law, the bill never got out of committee. We’re talking about the Gunshine State, ze hais?

              Senator Pizzo has refiled his bill this year (SB1310) but it will languish in some committee, but perhaps it will become a template for similar gun bills in states which aren’t so completely under the control of a wannabe Donald Trump like Ron DeSantis. The bill prohibits minors from posting pictures of guns on social media and will require parents of such kids to enroll in education classes if their child used one of their guns for the pictures that are displayed in a social media account that is “openly viewable by the public.”

              This would be an easy law to enforce because such sites – Facebook, Instagram, etc., – are not only viewable by the public but also by the police. And if the parents of juveniles don’t know that their kids are brandishing guns online, it’s something they need to learn and something they need to stop from happening again.

              The problem with enforcing strict penalties for the illegal use of a gun, which is Gun-nut Nation’s universal prescription for how to reduce the violence committed by using a gun, is that such a strategy can only be employed after the criminal event involving gun use has already occurred. The real issue, it seems to me, is how to proactively prevent gun violence before it happens before someone gets it in their head to settle an argument or respond to being dissed by pulling out a gun.

              Our friend Al Lizotte has done the fundamental research on how and when kids get interested in guns and you can download it here. When do kids who use guns for crimes first get interested in guns? In their early teens. When do they start carrying guns? In their middle teens. When does gun violence become the principal cause of homicidal and aggravated assault behavior? From ages 16 on up.

              You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that kids who move from toy guns to real guns in their early teens become the most at-risk population for committing gun violence even before they actually get their hands on a real gun. If they can use a real gun to spice up their appearances on social media, then the transition from gun interest to gun access has already occurred. And even if they only use a plastic imitation of a gun for their social media post instead of the real thing, the intent is clear.

              In 1999, that’s more than twenty years ago, the gun-homicide rate in the United States was 3.88, now it’s 4.39. The gun-assault rate in 2001 was 14.40, it was 18.82 in 2012 and then the CDC stopped trying to compute the non-fatal gun assault rate.

              Never mind the number of gun deaths and injuries that have occurred over the past twenty years. How about the number of young kids who have moved from interest to access, to criminal use of guns during those same twenty years?

              Pizzo’s bill is a good idea. I hope it gets copied in other states.

What Is An Assault Rifle?: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798728410980: Amazon.com: Books