Gun-related and drug-related deaths are on the rise in America. The opioid crisis has reached the level of public-health epidemic, while gun-safety has been a hotly-contested topic this year, given the rise of mass shootings in public places such as schools and churches, as well as the overall increase of firearm fatalities in the past year. West Virginia is a case study
West Virginia legislators sent a bill to Governor Justice to sign into law which addresses the opioid epidemic. Senate bill 273 regulates the number of opioid pills that may be prescribed. Initial opioid prescriptions are limited to a seven-day supply for short-term pain, and emergency rooms and urgent care facilities are limited to four-day supply prescriptions. Dentists and optometrists are restricted to prescribing a three-day supply of pain pills. These new guidelines are a valid attempt at controlling the horrible epidemic that affects West Virginians on a daily basis, causing lives to be ruined and families to be torn apart. Although the bill does not address the fact that illegal drugs, such as fentanyl and heroin, are the leading causes of overdoses, it represents common sense attempts to address the crisis of drug-related deaths in West Virginia.
West Virginia legislators also introduced three new bills that address changes to gun laws in the state. These bills will allow gun-owners to carry their weapons on college and university campuses, as well as transport, carry and store their weapons in their vehicles in publicly accessible areas.
Stricter laws may reduce drug-related deaths. Prescription-drug regulations are real efforts by
Tightening drug laws to combat a critical drug problem while loosening gun laws when gun violence is on the rise leads to a question of what can be accomplished by regulations to protect America’s citizens. If a crackdown on the number of prescription pills can confront the drug problem, isn’t it possible that reducing the amount of ammunition that can be purchased and limiting the number of available assault-type weapons could tackle the problem of escalating gun deaths? If increasing regulations on drugs can be a successful effort in fighting the destructive opioid epidemic, does it not stand to reason that sensible gun regulations will minimize gun fatalities? Isn’t it worth a shot?