As an experienced member of the law enforcement community, real world experience has shown me that there are five contributing factors in gun violence. With few exceptions, they are alcohol, drugs, suicide, gang violence and mental illness.

I have never seen a responsible gun owner, devoid of one of these factors, use a gun in a criminal manner. What I have seen is special interest groups associated with these factors caution us on finger pointing and proclaim that tighter gun regulation is the answer.

This "not me, it's you" mindset was showcased in The Californian's Feb. 24 editorial, "Cast realistic light on mental illness." The basic point of the editorial was to warn readers that only a small portion of the mentally ill commit gun violence and involving the mentally ill in the gun violence discussion could drive them away from the help they need.

We would be much better off if we stopped making excuses for the mentally ill and put public safety first, eradicated gang violence, and rethink how we enforce gun-related crimes.

Politicians love to stand in front of children and demand gun control. But no politician has provided real world solutions to gun violence. That would require them to face the truth of this debate, which many politicians and portions of the voting public aren't willing to do.

Today it's guns, tomorrow it will be something you enjoy. Freedom is everything. Believe it.

Ron Rice