Parkland: A Call for Gun Control

By Nicholas Covino, PsyD February 20, 2018

Dear William James Community:

Like many of you, the tragic events in Parkland Florida remain. It is beyond frustrating to witness another episode of needless destruction of innocents in this country. There really are no words to offer, this time, that do not seem empty.

Increased funding for mental health care, a common call at times like these, is not likely to materialize. For politicians, many of whom receive significant funds from the gun industry, remarks about mental illness in the wake of such tragedies are an effort to distract. The problem of gun violence is not one of motive, it is one of opportunity. 

Teenagers, who are neither able to buy beer nor a handgun, can purchase an automatic rifle like those used in the Newtown, San Bernardino and Aurora massacres. Law enforcement officers, Veterans, and many gun owners have spoken about the absurdity of automatic weapons being in civilian hands. Appropriate controls on guns are not a violation of the Second Amendment, any more than other ‘rules’ that the country adopts to guarantee the safety of its people. The courageous young people, who lost their friends and escaped their own deaths at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, are using their unsolicited celebrity to call for stronger legislation around automatic weapons. The country needs to amplify their voices and support their call for action.

Our political advisors at, Rasky Partners, indicate that there will be several bills proposed by Members of Congress this week and next that will focus on gun control. I will work with our Board of Trustees to lend support to one or another of these initiatives; to request the same action of our Massachusetts Delegation in Washington; and to make the same request of the professional societies that we are members of (e.g., APA, AICUM, NASP, NACUBO, AACRAO, AGB). It will be helpful to have your efforts aligned and our advisor, Mr. Cronin, will let us know where we should place our energy.

We won’t be naïve in the belief that this type of effort will be effective on its own. But, we can hope that such actions will be cumulative and add to the determination of others to increase the pressure on our members of congress to create sane legislation for gun control.