Here we are, back in the great debate, the imposed gun control saddle again, after the heart-breaking and tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
It is a heartbreaking story; there is no doubt about that.
Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen-year-old students are appearing on television program after television program, claiming this and that in their present emotional state. Sure, it is moving. All of it. Sure, we grieve for them, their classmates, the victims and families of that horrible situation. Sure, their pleas for change and help are courageous. Sure, we wish this did not happen and we feel for all involved.
But the gun did NOT shoot the kids and teachers that wretched day. The SYSTEM of Parkland failed to deal with a mentally ill individual, whom then shot, killed and injured teachers and students that day. He should have been properly dealt with long ago, by local and state authorities and this would have never happened. The gun did not go in and kill 17 innocent victims. The shooter, as we now know, was on local police and FBI radar. He was reported to police 39 times– over a seven-year period, previously held a gun to students’ heads, had sent multiple death threats. THE INDIVIDUAL did. And THAT is what needs to be dealt with.
How do we make our schools safer and/or hardened against crimes like this?
The school walkouts, the marches, and the interviews, with the students demands, have diverted and obfuscated the real issue and are giving a pass to all law enforcement, government agencies and other people of authority whom had ample opportunities to intervene. The main stream media has been complicit in advancing this narrative.
At present there has been and still is a pressing debate on gun control. This is the default position of the left whenever a tragedy of this kind occurs. It happens over and over again with each new mad man tragedy we face in our broken world. And that is the reality. Not everyone is happy in this world. We encounter people on a daily basis whom are unhappy, who are suffering. What can we do to help these people? This is a key resolve in preventing future tragedies. To not face this reality is like brushing the dirt under the rug. But this is the dirt that needs to be dealt with.
The individuals and groups vocally fighting for gun control are not thinking clearly, are missing the key issues of what needs to be worked on or changed, but greater maturity is always available in order to both problem solve in this situation AND fully live the tenets of our beautiful Constitution. Nor are they aware that on September 13, 1994, there already was an experiment on banning assault weapons. At that time, the United States Congress passed a 10-year ban on civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms it defined as assault weapons, as well as certain ammunition magazines.
This ban followed the 1989 Stockton, California shooting when 34 children and one teacher were sadly shot, ending in the death of five children. The perpetrator used a semi-automatic AK-47 style rifle. In addition to this incident, the Luby’s Shooting in October 1991, which left 23 people dead and 27 wounded, was another factor. Last, the July 1, 1993 101 California Street shooting also contributed to the unprecedented passage of the ban. Eight people were killed and six were wounded. Two of the three firearms he used were TEC-9 semi-automatic handguns with Hellfire triggers.
The ban was completed in hopes of positive change, to have a positive and lasting effect.
But a 2004 critical review of firearms research by the National Research Council committee said that an academic study of the assault weapon ban “did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence outcomes.”
In 2004, a research report commissioned by the National Institute of Justice found that should the ban be renewed, its effects on gun violence would likely be small, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement, because rifles in general, including rifles referred to as “assault rifles” or “assault weapons”, are rarely used in gun crimes. Finally, a study by Christopher S, Koper, Daniel J. Woods, and Jeffrey A. Roth of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, of the University of Pennsylvania found no statistically significant evidence that either the assault weapons ban or the ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds had reduced gun murders. The authors also reported that “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury.”
So, what do we do? Instill another assault weapon ban, which produced no positive result? How would anyone up to 21 years of age protect themselves if they live alone and were being assaulted in a life and death situation? Call the police? We already have a number of laws regulating guns, but criminals and people that want to cause harm do not follow the law.
I want to take the liberty to diverge to another pressing issue or tragedy in our daily world: deaths from car accidents. The reality is that among 16-19 year-olds, the risk of a motor vehicle crash is higher than any other group of people. Did you know that the number one killer of teens is motor vehicle crashes? According to the CDC, in 2015 alone 2,333 teens ages 16-19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes. And more between ages 19-21. This means more than 7 teens every day were killed, and countless others injured, in car crashes that year.
So, should we ban the PRIVILEGE of driving until the age of 21? What would the 15-19 year-olds have to say about that?
I do not think the students that are protesting and demanding change, if offered within the same vote, to take both gun rights and driving until they are 21, would opt for changing these laws. Remember, The Second Amendment is a constitutional right and driving is a privilege. Considering that the number of deaths from driving far exceeds the number of deaths from military style weapons, where is all the outrage on deaths from teen driving? You cannot just conveniently choose which political battle you want to fight. These fights for change should be sincere and educated.
The pleas from all media forms and the marches tell us that we should “take away guns” because of this tragedy and to avoid future events like it from happening—like that is going to magically solve the problem of dealing with a mentally ill individual. It will not. Where is the cooling off period so that we can make better judgements and come up with real solutions? Discourse and sharing of ideas is good although there needs to be a cooling off.
So, should we “take away all driving from teens” also, in order to end the high amount of teen fatalities in teen car crashes? Why not?
One cannot just begin restricting constitutional rights in order to appease certain groups of people. This is not only far-fetched, but unacceptable for law-abiding American citizens.
As someone who has studied the Second Amendment, we must stop rushing to try to take away our inalienable rights granted to us by our Constitution immediately after a tragedy happens. The world is not nice, there will always be tragedy. Our Right to Bear Arms gives us the right to protect ourselves, our family, and our friends, IN THE EVENT that a situation occurs. It is not that we are predicting a certain situation to happen; it is to be our right of protection if one arises.
The Constitution is what makes America, America. Other developed countries also have a constitution which do not allow for personal protection. This is what makes us different as a nation and they cannot claim “because other countries don’t have this right, that they are better.” Really?
The Second Amendment is one tenet to our Constitution. I think America needs to contemplate the idea of removing pieces of our Constitutional Right to Bear Arms. In the late 60s the Right of citizens to buy and possess handguns was taken away for people under 21 (this should have never been permanent, and should have been written and revisited after a sunset period). The reason had very little to do with actions of young adults before the age of 21. Once we lose a portion of any right, we as a country will never get it back. The Second Amendment states that the right “Shall Not Be Infringed,” and this was written for a reason.
In America, and in other free societies, there are privileges and consequences to these freedoms that we hold. We cannot regulate the behavior or morals of our citizens. This is an unfortunate condition, and the reality of an open and free society.
I am not advocating conflict. But the sharp-edged truth is that certain parties need more moderate leadership with common-sense solutions and an agenda that is American, worthy of our Founding Fathers and our Constitution. Let’s discern a way forward together without playing politics or politicizing this tragedy.