Gun Control

What happened at Virginia Tech was horrible. Things like this shouldn’t happen but they do. They always have and they always will. We all wish there was some way to “fix” it. We all wish there was some magic button we could push to insure that this kind of thing will never happen again. Unfortunately there is not and there never will be. There will always be madmen who are determined to maim and kill. There will always be people with twisted irrational minds who will do horrible things to innocent people. There will always be evil people without conscience who are willing to kill you for a few dollars or whatever you have.

 Predictably, there is already much renewed debate about gun control, fueled heavily by CNN and the rest of the media. Misguided people have the delusion that enacting more gun control laws will prevent such tragedies as happened at Virginia Tech or Columbine. They will not.

I am reminded of the recently expired “assault weapon” ban. People still cry foul that the ban was lifted even though there is NO credible evidence that the ban had any impact whatsoever on crime or safety. As we watched the news about the most recent rampage I made the comment to my wife that if the shooter had used an assault weapon there surely would have been an immediate outcry to ban all assault weapons again. I noted that this event showed that a person can do just as much damage with common handguns, even with low caliber weapons. In fact, if the guy had used an assault weapon he might have run out of ammunition sooner.

 As it turns out, the media is trying to play the handguns that were used as “high capacity assault weapons”. I have heard comments on the news like “why would anybody need 15 rounds magazines” and why would anybody be sold TWO magazines!”. Come on folks, be realistic. If he could have only bought 5-round magazine he would simply have had to reload more often, or bought more of the 5-round magazines, or carried more than two guns.

 It is the same weak argument about banning guns. People who have decided to do something like this will do it. Laws mean nothing to demented minds and criminals. I for one, think this event makes a good case AGAINST more gun control.

Imagine for a moment that one other person in that building had been armed with a gun and at least some basic training. Imagine if there had been one armed and trained security guard, faculty member, or even a student. Do you not think they would have acted to try and stop what was going on? Sure, they probably would not have been able to prevent everyone from being shot but once the massacre started, maybe they could have stopped it before thirty two people had been killed and 28 more wounded. As it was, the shooter had plenty of time to wander from room to room, killing at will. He knew there was no one to challenge him. He knew he was in control and had all the power. At least until the police arrived. Then, as they usually do, when other guns arrived and the power was equalized, he killed himself. He knew he couldn’t continue doing what he was doing against armed men, only against helpless, unarmed people.

As I said, gun laws mean nothing to people like this. We already have the ridiculous “gun free zones”. Virginia Tech, like most college campuses, schools and businesses, was a “gun free zone”. Where do these sensational shooting sprees happen? At schools and businesses in these “gun free zones”. The shooters go where they know there will be no guns to challenge them. They go to places where they know they will be in control and can spread their terror among helpless people. And they do it until the police arrive and then everything is different but by then a lot of innocent people have died. When did you ever hear of anyone shooting up a police station?

 Banks are frequently robbed these days. Banks no longer have armed security guards. A robber just has to walk in and show a gun, or even just say he has a gun, and they hand over the money. These are hundreds of casinos in the U.S. They have tons of money right out in plain sight, probably more money than most banks have on hand. How often do you hear about a casino being robbed? The criminals know that there are armed guards in the casinos. Criminals don’t like a level playing field.

 Gun control advocates will also argue against concealed carry permits. I remember them predicting “wild west shootouts in the streets" and people blasting each other over every fender bender. It simply has not happened. Look at the reality in communities in Florida and Texas where concealed carry permit were allowed in recent years. I have read numerous reports that some types of violent crime actually went DOWN after concealed carry laws were enacted. Conversely, look at places like Australia where strict gun bans were enacted and see how crime has risen.

Criminals and wackos don’t want to face anyone who can face them on equal ground. They want to prey on people who are defenseless against them. I think it makes a huge difference in the mind of a criminal to know that people in a house or other building are unarmed versus wondering if, or assuming that they are, armed and able to fight back and defend themselves. Maybe it will make the criminal think twice about executing his plan. And maybe a legally armed citizen could stop the criminal before more people are killed.

 Do you really think that not having a gun available is going to stop sick minded people like the shooter at Virginia Tech? If they can’t get hold of a gun they are simply going to build a bomb, start a fire, poison the food, or do any of a dozen other things that they could easily do to attack innocent people. Look at England. They banned guns and the thugs simply switched to knives. Then they tried to ban knives and thousands of law abiding citizens turned in their knives. Do you think the criminals did? Next I guess they will have to ban wood for fear of baseball bats and clubs.

 I ask the gun control advocates this. Aside from disarming citizens being in violation of the Constitution and criminalizing approximately 34% of the U.S. population, how do you suppose a gun ban would work anyway? There are an estimated 250 million guns in the United States. All of these people are NOT going to voluntarily turn in their guns. Beside the fact that they have a constitutional right to own the guns, they feel they need to be able to protect themselves as the Virginia Tech event clearly illustrates. Also consider the many of those guns cost the owners hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Do you really think they are going to go and toss them into the recycling bin? Are the police going to go house to house to search for the guns and forcibly take them?  That is the very definition of a police state and I don’t think even the most liberal citizens want that.

And what if somehow all of the guns were confiscated? Do you not think that criminals would still get them and be at an even bigger advantage? We have never been able to stop the import or manufacture of tons of illegal drugs. How do you imagine that we would be more successful with guns? We tried to ban alcohol in thirties and what a rousing success that was! Stills, speakeasies and bathtub gin was everywhere. We try keep out illegal aliens but cannot.

 Face it, guns are not going to go away any more than we can do anything to stop demented wackos and criminals from shooting, robbing, raping and killing. People were killing people long before guns were invented. People need to be able to defend themselves. Millions of law-abiding responsible armed citizens at least have a chance to defend themselves, their family and their property if need be. Millions of citizens are today legally carrying concealed guns and we have not reverted to the Hollywood version of the wild west. Most will never fire their guns in anger or defense but simply having them is a deterrent and it could save innocent lives. Sure there will be some incidents in anger and some accidents just as there now but those are a very small number of incidents compared the number of violent crimes that happen everywhere every day.

 Banning guns is not the answer. It is just a knee-jerk reaction from those who want to just push that magic button and make it all stop. Responsible legal gun ownership can be, and is, a deterrent to crime. I would agree that all gun owners should be required to take a basic firearms course to learn how to handle and use a gun safely but beyond that, we do not need more restrictive and ineffective gun control laws that will only be ignored by those that they are supposed to restrict and further endanger those they are supposed to protect.

 So, we cannot stop the random act of violence. So what can we do? We can stop some of it. Every school at every grade level should make it an annual part of their curriculum to discuss depression, anger, hostility, and erratic behavior. Students need to be taught to recognize the signs of troubled students and to take those signs seriously. Troubled students need to be shown that there is help available and try to make them think about the consequences of a shooting spree or other violent acts. Students need to learn to be tolerant and learn that bullying breeds violence.

 Every school building should have at least one responsible armed and trained person who can respond quickly when an emergency situation occurs before dozens of people are killed while they are waiting for the police to arrive. Even if that person is a faculty member it could save lives. If criminals know that there is an unknown armed person in the building, they know they will not have free reign to spread their terror unchallenged. Don’t you think that would-be hijackers have been deterred at least to some extend by the knowledge that the person in the next airplane seat just might be an armed air Marshall?

 Responsible, law-abiding citizen need to be able to defend their families and homes. Concealed carry permits need to be available to those who qualify and have adequate firearms training. Every gun purchase should require proof that they buyers have basic firearms training.

We can never stop the madness of sick people. Acts of senseless violence have been happening since cavemen learned how to swing a club and we know of no way to make it suddenly stop. Banning guns will not make it stop.


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