OTHER VOICES: Think carefully, take it slow when considering new gun control law

Farm Forum

In the clamor over potential gun regulations, the worst course might be to rush into any new legislation in Pierre.

Heat-of-the-moment thinking almost always is bad, especially when it comes to making laws, because it is easy to get whipped into a frenzy on one side of the issue or the other. It’s also easy to jump too far to try to compensate for one situation, at the expense of distancing ourselves from mainstream American thinking.

All you have to do is look at New York for an example of a rushed gun control law. The bill, recently signed by that state’s governor, was designed to strengthen an already-tough state law that some say makes New York the toughest in the country. Others criticize the action as being too quick.

As for our own state’s lawmakers, we urge them to slow down. What is good for New York, or any other state, might not be what South Dakota needs.

There are many entry points to the issue of gun control, following the massacre of children in Newtown, Conn. Assault rifles, the size of the magazine, arming an adult in every school and classifying and preventing people with a mental illness who might be dangerous all are topics that already have come up.

We like the approach of the Sioux Falls School District, which had additional security plans that would be phased in with no scheduled dates assigned. Instead, they had been installing new equipment as other work was done at each school. Following the school shootings, administrators and the school board agreed to bump up those efforts to implement the $6.7 million school access safety plan that will be in all of the district’s schools by August 2014.

The district recognizes the effort is important to make schools as safe as they can. It’s the right thing to do and makes perfect sense. But hurrying is not reasonable. If lawmakers feel the need to do something to address the gun control issue, let’s take it slow and make sure it is first good public policy with good citizen discussion along the way.

— The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls