A year ago this week, Middleton became yet another community affected by an active shooter. Without provocation or warning, an employee of Paradigm stood up from his desk and began indiscriminately shooting at his coworkers. Because of the brave reactions of Paradigm employees, prompt response and decisive actions by law enforcement, and remarkable medical care by emergency medical services and hospital staff, no one died that day other than the shooter.
Nevertheless, the actions of that shooter forever affected the lives of Paradigm employees, their families, friends, our community and first responders.
The shooter in this case was not allowed to legally purchase or possess a firearm, but obtained numerous firearms through a loophole in our laws. He ordered gun parts over the internet and manufactured his own firearms, a method referred to as building "ghost guns."
When I became a police officer 38 years ago, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution and protect the members of my community. I believe that closing gun law loopholes and enacting common sense gun laws on a federal and state level support those responsibilities that I take so seriously.
I ask our federal and state elected officials to close firearm law loopholes like ghost guns and gun show sales. I ask them to enact universal background checks, red-flag laws, to ban weapons of war such as assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and to reinstitute a 48-hour waiting period to purchase firearms. These are commonsense gun laws, supported by a majority of our citizens, and they do not infringe on the rights of people to legally purchase and possess firearms.
For those who look at these proposals and say they would not prevent a mass shooting event, I simply reply that the status quo is doing nothing to stop them.
I wrote a letter to the community a year ago, after the Middleton shooting. I commented that we cannot let this be the new normal.
How profoundly mistaken I was.
It is the new normal, and it is not acceptable.
Elected officials, you have the power to make a difference. Now have the courage.
Charles Foulke is chief of the Middleton Police Department.
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