To the Editor:

Gail Lehmann’s letter to The Press on Aug. 8 is more about political rhetoric than empirical fact. on Aug. 6, 2019 reported that “as of Aug. 3, the day of the shooting in Texas, there had been 250 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.”

Using Gun Violence Archive’s list, they found that there have been 31 “mass killings,” which federal law defines as “3 or more killings in a single incident.”

As for “domestic situations,” they found that 13 of the 31 mass killings involved family members or people in relationships.

Gail, from 1995 through 2005 all homicides dropped, to a negative delta of 22.52 percent. The homicide rate went from 8.2 down to 5.6 per 100,000. The homicide rate as of 2017 was 5.3 per 100,000.

My data source is FBI Crime in the United States 2017 latest full year available.

Background checks are only as good as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a flawed and incomplete system used for background checks.

For more than 10 years, only the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), who represents manufacturers and retailers of firearms, has worked successfully at the state level to “FixNICS”.

Any background check legislation must include a requirement to fix and standardize NICS and require mental health data.

Aurora, Colo., theater shooter; VA Tech shooter; Dayton shooter all had mental health issues, the list goes on.

I have supported background checks, one that deals with fixing NICS and requires all states to ensure the necessary data are timely and completely provided that includes “sealed” juvenile and mental health records.

The Press editorial states “the right to bear arms is protected by the Constitution — in an amendment.” Actually, there were 10 amendments, commonly referred to as The Bill of Rights.

Joseph Trench

Ascot Way, Aug. 11