Many seem to think that “gun control” is a new concept. Actually, gun control in various forms has been tried before, going back at least to the days of the wild west. Some sheriffs and marshals tried gun control in the western cattle towns such as Dodge City, Santa Fe, and others. So how did that work? When entering a town all guns had to be turned over to law enforcement to be reclaimed when leaving town. How well did that work? Not very well actually. In a few cases, it simply resulted in the local law officer being gunned down in the street or a local saloon. A more common result was after a few drinks and reclaiming their guns they simply shot up the town and left.
Anyone that thinks that prohibiting guns will work to reduce crime or mass shooting incidents is naive in the extreme. Guns don’t kill people any more than forks make people fat or cars cause traffic accidents. Morals and ethics cannot be legislated. It has been tried with drugs and alcohol and even racial rights. The end result was that such prohibition created a set of massive illegal underground businesses, human abuses, and human suffering.
The problem creating these shooting incidents are a result of cultural change. The change has been going on for years and the results are now being felt in the extreme. Recent generations have been exposed to violence virtually every day of their lives. Such violence is even portrayed as good. Movies, TV shows, computer games, and even news broadcasts push violence into their faces constantly. Yes, prior generations saw violence too. We saw newsreels of WWII action. We had comic books, radio and TV shows that had fictitious characters like the Lone Ranger, Superman, and Mighty Mouse all of which showed violence. However, that violence was limited and always directed to stop evil. The violence was never vilified and the “good guys” always won. The limited violence depicted was never directed at innocent people or children and was used only as a last resort to protect people.
This cultural change shows up in other forms too. “Safe Cities” where criminals are protected from arrest and/or deportation. Even college campuses, which should be helping to mold responsible citizens, have set themselves up as safe havens where illegals are protected. Politicians and news media often depict the police as brutalizing innocent citizens. They also feed us the BS that those in the country illegally are not criminals and their right to be here should be protected. What part of “illegal” do they not understand or think they can justify “illegal” as “legal with rights”?
Perhaps equally important is the reality that older generations were taught responsibility for their actions and the respect for others, and the value of human life. I and most of the kids I grew up with either had a gun or there were accessible guns in the house from the time we were 10 on. We never shot people. Training and teaching moral conduct began in the home. It was continued through our formative years in schools and houses of worship. We were also taught to respect minorities, but that the minority didn’t dictate to the majority. Those minorities were not just on a race basis but also those with different opinions. Bathrooms and locker rooms were not open to anyone who decided that they felt like a different gender on a given day. The country’s language wasn’t changed for minority preference. The flag and God were honored in school. We were taught the difference between religious freedom and the assumed rights of minority opinions to dictate. Atheists couldn’t force the removal of prayer before a school football game. Muslims couldn’t require no pork products served in school cafeterias or block public streets to kneel and pray.
Should AR-16 style guns be banned? I don’t think the shape of a gun inspires emotionally disturbed people to create mass murder any more than saying that a pressure cooker inspires them to make it into a bomb. Limiting the capacity of clips will not solve any issue. First of all, it probably isn’t enforceable, nor does it address having multiple clips or multiple weapons. Should we tighten and better coordinate background checks before a gun can be purchased? Absolutely. The fact that multiple law enforcement agencies knew of the instability of the shooter in a Florida school and didn’t respond or even communicate with each other is not acceptable. Should background checks be mandatory to purchase any gun? Certainly and It should apply to gun shows as well as dealers. Will those actions stop gun violence? No, of course not. You can buy a gun in an alley in any city. You can not regulate private sales between two individuals either.
What else can be done? Politicians need to stop spouting a party line, or making uninformed statements (some of which set new standards of stupidity), or saying things to simply garner votes. They need to set party aside, sit down and have meaningful dialog as we hired them to do. Cities should be forced to come into compliance with federal law. No city, county, or state statutes should be held above federal law. Judges need to stop trying to legislate and rule based on existing law. Schools at all levels should get back to doing what they were designed to do. They were never intended to be institutions for pushing various opinions or political or religious agendas. We need to reevaluate how we identify and deal with those that are mentally/emotionally unstable. As a police officer recently told me, being emotionally unstable or even “crazy” isn’t illegal and most of those they arrest are unstable and that has caused them to commit some crime.
Will those actions stop mass murder events? No, but it is a start and we must realize that this culture we have wasn’t created overnight, nor is there going to be a quick fix.