“There was another mass shooting today.”
These are the words that are spoken too often between Americans across the country. They’re spoken too often, and as a result we’ve become desensitized to them. It has created callous responses that are instantly political; the left jumps on beating the gun control drums while the right searches for information that could counter the argument, such as the tragedy happening in a “gun free zone” or the perpetrator acquiring the weapons illegally. It is purely political for most pundits in America; only the local news makes it truly emotional because of proximity as compared to the false emotions of outrage that have more to do with Saul Alinsky’s teachings than heartfelt concern for our fellow human beings.
If I sound cynical about the left’s stance, it’s because I am. It’s disingenuous to take every mass shooting and turn it into the temporary stage for Kabuki Theater when the bigger problem of day-to-day criminal violence in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and Los Angeles affect far more people. But those instances are not publicized by progressive legacy media the way a dude with an AR-15 is. There may be many more constant and predictable deaths at the hands of known criminals across the United States than the unexpected mass shootings at Walmarts or night clubs, but those are just statistics. Mass shootings drive emotion, and the left desperately needs emotion to drive their agenda.
There are solutions. We can come up with a plan. But first, the left must stop pretending like the only solution is to disarm 130 million law abiding Americans, and the right needs to stop being complacent about the left’s attempts to do so. They will try, and any actions the right makes for political expediency will not be met with a “thank you” from the left. No matter what the right does to appease the left and appeal to the center, the left is going to cry that it’s not enough. They’ll demand more.
Instead of figuring out how to invoke gun control, we need to focus on solutions and plans that can make an impact. Gun control offers many more risks than rewards. In lieu of more gun control laws, here are seven things we can do to address the issue properly and mitigate future damage, reduce deaths, and keep criminals from acquiring firearms instead of punishing law-abiding citizens.
More focus on ongoing violence, not sporadic high-profile attacks
As noted earlier, all of the media attention is going to mass shootings. But I bet you didn’t hear that various criminal gunmen shot over 70 people killing at least a dozen in Chicago alone on the same weekend of the two mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. You didn’t hear about it because that’s an ongoing problem. Old news. High-profile mass shootings get exponentially more media attention because they don’t happen every weekend.
But more people die from “regular” shootings than mass shootings. It isn’t even close. So if DC is ready to jump through hoops over mass shootings, they’re being dishonest with America. Every week brings more killings that could have been avoided if the common sense actions below had been taken. There’s no way to eliminate gun violence altogether even if you made guns illegal for citizens to own. Criminals have a tendency to break laws, and obtuse gun laws will be no exception.
If we’re going to address mass shootings, then we need to address the bigger problem at least at the same time. It’s not as sexy to the media and there aren’t as many people protesting “regular” gun violence as they do with mass shootings, but it makes no sense for government to focus on solutions to the mass shooting problem when much bigger similar issues require more attention.
Enforce the laws that are on the books
Today, if you believe a loved one is a danger to himself or someone else and that loved one has a firearm, you can request the loved one be evaluated by the state for mental illness that would prohibit them from owning a firearm. The difference between this and so-called red flag gun laws is they require due process and psychological evaluation, whereas red flag gun laws take the guns first and ask questions later.
Red flag gun laws are not a righteous replacement for current laws. With 11 mass shootings listed on Wikipedia this year, and with only a couple who MAY have been avoided if red flag gun laws were in place, how can we use them to justify confiscating property from thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of law abiding citizens? It makes absolutely no sense.
Oh, but universal background checks are the answer! No. We’ve gone down the road of FixNICS. We’ve also applied background checks to nearly every gun purchase in America today. Initiating “universal” background checks simply adds a burden to private sellers. And as the Boston Globe noted, there have been literally ZERO mass shootings that would have been avoided if universal background checks were in place at the time. They’re nothing more than a very expensive placebo.
We have laws on the books to address mental illness. We have laws on the books that prevent many “assault weapons” from being sold. If anything, we have too many such laws, but that hasn’t solved the problem so people expect more. They want politicians to do something. They aren’t actually taking into account that laws can and should defend us already if they’re properly enforced.
Look at the statistics soberly, not emotionally
The AR-15 is a scary looking rifle to some. It is so scary, it must be the leading cause of firearm deaths, right? No. Not even close. In fact, if you combined ALL deaths at the hands of ALL rifles, not just the AR-15 or so-called “assault weapons,” the total is 1/100th the number of deaths caused by knives or other sharp objects. They’re also minuscule compared to the number of deaths caused by handguns.
The left often points to a particular number – usually 40,000 – when they describe the number of Americans killed by firearms. What they neglect to tell people is the vast majority of those firearm deaths are suicides. While it can be asserted that suicidal people with firearms are more likely to go through with the act than those without firearms, the statistics do not support this. For this, we look to Great Britain.
Guns were banned in 1997. One would think suicide rates would drop dramatically as a result. But they didn’t. Despite the fact that suicide rates in Great Britain have been dropping consistently since their peak in the 1980s, the rate was 11.6 suicides per 100,000 in 1996 just prior to sweeping gun laws that took handguns away from citizens the following year. Gun control logic says that rate would have gone down immediately. But from 1998-2000, the rate was actually higher than it was before guns were banned. Rates have been going down steadily, as they were before gun control laws were in place, but it has not been the sharp decrease one would expect if they believe guns in the hands of suicidal people make them more likely to actually kill themselves.
If someone wants to commit suicide, they will.
Teach people to use firearms
Other nations with an armed citizenry, like Switzerland and Israel, do a tremendous job and put a ton of effort into educating the population on proper firearm usage and safety. The United States has no such criteria. Swiss children are taught to use and respect firearms as soon as they’re teenagers. The gun violence rate in their country is practically non-existent with the last mass shooting having happened 18 years ago.
Much of the stigma surrounding firearms in the United States is media-driven. Guns are bad in the eyes of many Americans, so they don’t want anything to do with them. I’ll discuss blaming inanimate objects for our crime problems later, but it should be noted that if more Americans were taught at an early age to respect and handle firearms properly, it would empower more citizens to arm themselves as adults.
“But, we need to disarm people, not arm more of them,” the progressive might say. No. This is wrong. An armed citizenry is the best deterrent to crime, whether it’s mass shootings, home invasions, street robberies, or any form of firearm crime. The best way to stop bad guys with guns quickly is by having more good guys with guns in the world, which leads me to the next solution…
Allow more open- and concealed-carry
The left has absolutely no answer to why mass shootings do not happen in any of the nine states with the loosest gun laws. None of them. In fact, if you compare the cities with the highest violent crime rates to the cities with the strongest gun laws, you’ll find a very clear correlation.
Open- and concealed-carry works as a deterrent. It also happens to work as a solution when crime goes undeterred. I spoke more about this in an article about stopping mass shootings.
Open-carry and concealed-carry laws allow the people to protect themselves. They dissuade potential mass shooters from enacting their heinous plans. Fears that an armed population will harm themselves or others, or get in the way of law enforcement, are irrational as there are no examples of these hypothetical problems actually ever occurring.
If there are any laws that need to be tightened, it’s in the way gun laws are prosecuted. While I’m completely against new or revamped gun laws that take away from our 2nd Amendment rights, I’m all in favor of making many of the laws currently on the books carry harsher penalties.
Acknowledge crazy people do crazy things
If you’re looking for a secret formula to prevent gun violence altogether, you’re going to be looking for a long time. It would require magic of some sort. Either you use precognitive individuals immersed in liquid with shaved heads, a la Minority Report, or you have a genie in a magic lamp wish away all firearms from every criminal or potential criminal in America. Otherwise, there’s no solution that will stop gun violence.
But even then, you aren’t going to stop everyone who wants to do harm. Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev didn’t need an AR-15 to cause mass casualties at the Boston Marathon. Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov rented a pickup truck to mow down people in New York City. Four people are dead when a man with knives went on a killing spree in Garden Grove, CA, the other day. Crazy people do crazy things, and firearms are far from their only weapons of choice.
We want universal solutions. We want to feel safe no matter where we go or what we do. But that’s just not possible. Until more Americans realize that crime is going to happen whether it’s rampant or not, we’re always going to be having the gun control debate.
Stop blaming inanimate objects for the sins of men
We do not have a gun problem. We have a criminal problem. We have a mental illness problem. And most importantly, we have a spiritual problem. The soul of the United States as a whole has been hampered in recent years by growing lawlessness. I’m not talking about the denial of secular laws, though that’s happening as well. I’m talking about the hearts of men growing colder and the church in America becoming lukewarm.
Men kill each other. Guns are just a tool. If we’re going to address the problems of gun violence in general and mass shootings in particular, we have to acknowledge the problem is one of the heart, not one that can be solved with more restrictions to Americans’ right to bear firearms.
Gun control is not a solution to the problems we face with crime. Those who would commit heinous acts aren’t interested in laws that affect millions of law abiding citizens. If anything, more gun control will make gun violence much worse.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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