DUI policies need review; so do gun laws

The OlympianApril 11, 2013 

Public outrage over the state’s lenient laws governing habitual drunken drivers has spilled over to the Legislature, as it should. Two recent sensational traffic accidents allegedly caused by drunken drivers with previous DUI arrests have spurred legislators into action.

Isn’t it interesting how lawmakers can mobilize so quickly and collectively around drunken driving, but not universal background checks or other firearms restrictions that might prevent equally tragic fatal accidents?

On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate Law and Justice Committee scheduled a public hearing for this morning on a title-only bill, “The Driving Under the Influence Act of 2013.”

Although citizens had little time to prepare for today’s hearing, the committee can expect to hear pleas to make driving under the influence a felony or to impose lifetime suspension of driving privileges. Proposals already are circulating about the mandatory installment of ignition locking devices after an arrest and the impounding of a drunken driver’s vehicle.

These are all good ideas, and lawmakers should adopt the most effective among them.

We appreciate it when lawmakers respond to pressing public concerns in a timely manner. If only they had shown such enthusiasm for tighter gun laws after mass killings in Seattle, Newtown, Conn. or Aurora, Colo.

The number of deaths linked to DUI drivers has been dropping in recent years, and yet our state will benefit from stricter laws to discourage repeat DUI offenders.

We look forward to our legislators’ response to increasing gun violence.

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