The police chief in Virginia Beach, Va., told reporters over the weekend; “Right now we do not have anything glaring.” He was addressing the question of why DeWayne Craddock, armed with two .45-caliber pistols, shot and killed 12 people, including 11 co-workers, at a city government building on Friday afternoon. The resignation letter Craddock submitted via email hours before the mass shooting offered no clues, according to news accounts.

Neither was there anything revealing in his personnel file, the city manager describing Craddock as “in good standing within his department.”

The puzzle adds to a sense of helplessness, an ordinary work day suddenly erupting into deadly violence. As the country has learned painfully, the setting could be a school or a concert, a movie theater, newspaper or place of worship. The phrase “numbing frequency” has been read or heard often the past few days, the reference to the steady string of such episodes, Virginia Beach the worst since November when a gunman killed a dozen people at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

One temptation is to think along the lines of “what’s the use?” Yet there are steps available to address what is a national public health emergency involving gun violence, of which mass shootings are a small though especially traumatizing part. The crisis includes the gun violence afflicting a city such as Akron, shots fired almost each day, with lives disrupted and lost. Those casualties are a spur to action, as are the victims in Virginia Beach, among the dead the mother of a 22-month-old daughter and civil servants with long careers devoted to public works.

There are no complete remedies for gun violence. The more than 300 million guns in circulation reflect how rooted they are in the country’s culture. What can be implemented are measures designed to slow the violence. They can be accomplished without harm to individual gun rights as affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Many of those measures are familiar, yet they deserve repeated mention. For instance, the federal background check system suffers from gaping holes. Democrats in the U.S. House approved legislation that would make improvements, including coverage of most gun sales. In Ohio, John Kasich, during his final year as governor, pressed unsuccessfully for more timely and complete state reporting to the system. Now Gov. Mike DeWine rightly has taken up the task of getting the state to do better in helping keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Along that line, the governor also has followed his predecessor in calling for “red flag” legislation, allowing for the temporary seizure of weapons from gun owners who pose a threat to themselves or others. As the Virginia Beach incident reminds, many shooters do not exhibit signs. Yet research shows enough do that such a process is warranted, and it can be structured to protect individual gun rights and advance public safety.

It could be particularly effective in preventing suicides, which account for roughly two-thirds of the annual 30,000 gun deaths.

There are other modest and responsible steps such as limiting high-capacity magazines and the use of sound suppressing devices, which can make it difficult to tell the direction of the gunfire, complicating response procedures. Both examples pertain to the Virginia Beach shooting.

Again, such steps are not going to end gun violence, just as there is not an effective response for every situation. What can be done is to focus first on making it less likely guns will land in the wrong hands. That translates to better background checks and “red flag” legislation. Which happen to be two items on which many Democrats and Republicans agree.