If Trump and the GOP really cared about the security and safety of our children, they would be asking for $5B for a federal gun safety program, not an ostentatious, steel wall that will not make our country safer or fix a broken immigration system.

There are more than 300 million guns in the hands of Americans. These guns are killing on average 100 people per day in this country. Is this not the real crisis ? So instead of another gaudy, flashy Trump construction project, let’s work on solving an issue that is actually killing and wounding tens of thousands of innocent Americans every year. If you are raising children in this country, I believe this should be on the top of your agenda.

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Non-Violence, by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd.

Here’s an idea of how we could spend this same amount of money to solve an actual problem. Let’s spend $1B on implementing and managing a tracking system for guns that will associate each weapon with a person through their social security number. Then, let’s criminalize illegal gun ownership federally. We can recoup this money over time by charging fees for anyone who wishes to purchase a gun license. Gun licenses should cost $100 and only be issued to Americans over age 26 who have completed a mental evaluation and gun safety course. (26 is the age where the male brain actually is full formed, and a more scientific benchmark for maturity than 18.) Citizens should not be allowed to own more than 1 gun/household. Next, let’s spend $1B on mental health programs targeting young, vulnerable men in the United States. Finally let’s spend $3B on a federal gun buyback program. If we offer $50/gun, we could remove 60 million lethal weapons (20% of the total) from our streets. We can then monitor the data. Did these measures reduce gun deaths/injuries in the United States ? I believe they will.

Most illegal immigrants in the United States are not in fact dangerous. On the contrary, they are good, hard working people that contribute to the economy. Most illegal immigrants in the United States do not come in via the Southern border illegally. More than 2/3 come in legally, and then overstay their visa. Illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes, including dangerous crimes, than people born in the US. These are the facts.

Trump, once again, is pushing the fiction that swallows up the news media. His fear-driven, false narrative is designed to rally his base, satiate his ego and distract attention from his criminal investigation. It’s the same playbook that has worked over and over again for him. We should not take the bait. Now, I’m not saying our immigration system is perfect. It isn’t. But the data suggests the problem is not exactly the one Trump is describing, and therefore the solution will be very different from the one Trump is proposing. Even if our President doesn’t, we need to live in a fact-based world. Somehow, we need to try and steer the agenda away from the Trump P.R. machine that can manufacture any crisis it can conjure up. Should we fix our broken immigration and asylum system ? Yes. Should we do it in a data-driven and holistic way ? Absolutely. Should we do it before we solve our national gun violence crisis ? NO.

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