Wait a Second

It is astonishing to me how many passionate supporters of the second amendment have never read it.

Have you?

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Well regulated.

They have been there all along, but, in their haste to protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms, many people skip right over two of the most important words.

Well regulated.

What’s so hard about regulation? Does anybody really believe a 19-year old should be able to legally purchase a military grade weapon?

Laws prohibit 19-year olds from purchasing a can of beer, and rules prevent them from renting a car.

But, nothing stopped a 19-year old from waltzing into a gun store, applying for a gun license and, that same day, legally purchasing an AR-15.

You want to know what else is necessary to the security of a free state? Laws that protect its citizens, especially its children.

It’s not an all or nothing situation. We can enact reasonable restrictions on gun purchases that still allow responsible adults to own guns.

Even Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the second amendment’s most ardent advocates, supported “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” according to a majority decision he wrote in the 2008 Heller case that extended second amendment rights to individuals who want to defend themselves in their homes. Scalia cautioned that the second amendment is “not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

Those gun enthusiasts who argue that we have a mental health crisis in this country and not a gun crisis actually make the case for tighter gun control. Because, if we have a mental health crisis in this country (and we absolutely do), then we need to be even more vigilant about to whom we’re extending the right to purchase and carry these powerful guns.

We have more sophisticated weapons at our disposal than the framers of the constitution could ever have imagined, and global technology literally at our fingertips.

Still, like theirs, our most powerful weapon remains our own common sense.

We should be doing whatever we can to prevent innocent people from being gunned down in schools, at concerts and in churches across this great and free country of ours.

  • Restrict access to assault rifles.
  • Mandate three-day waiting periods for gun licenses.
  • Require thorough, not cursory, background checks.
  • Make the 21-year age requirement mandatory for all gun purchases.

These would be four steps in the right direction of a well regulated industry. Setting rhetoric and politics aside, it’s the least we could do. 

We regulate many things to keep our kids safe at school. We can do more.


48 thoughts on “Wait a Second

  1. Is it possible that you don’t really know what the meaning of “well regulated” was when the Bill of Rights was written? Just five minutes of research would have turned up the information that this term means “well practiced” or “well equipped.” It has nothing to do with putting restrictions on people’s rights to keep and bear arms. Note the words “shall not be infringed.” Google and research are your friends when you don’t want to embarrass yourself.

    The four things you call for have been tried over and over, and they have not resulted in any reduction in crime. And, using a term like “military grade weapon” exposed a lack of knowledge of the subject. Modern Sporting Rifles (what you call the AR-15) are not military riles, but they are used by millions of hunters, competitive shooters, and recreational shooters.

    Should anyone be confused, the modern sporting rifle is a semi-automatic, which means it fires one round with a single pull of the trigger. This action type has been popular for more than 100 years, and it was used by President Teddy Roosevelt for hunting. It’s not new. It’s not a military firearm (though almost all firearms were originally designed for military use, from the lever action, to the bolt action, to the semi-automatic). It is definitely not a machine gun. It is, however, the most popular type of firearm in the U.S. and is used safely and responsible by more than 10 million people.

    1. Thanks for your response Tom. I hope, by the care you took to write such a thorough response, you are indicating a willingness for reasonable dialogue. I am aware of the interpretation of “well regulated” you refer to, but I am also aware of an inherent mistrust some of the framers, General Washington included, had for the militia. I believe it is reasonable to interpret “well regulated” to mean exactly as I said.

      1. Please don’t make the common mistake of thinking that the Second Amendment guarantees (not grants) the right to keep and bear arms to militias. That would be the exact opposite of the goal of this restriction on the government. It guarantees firearms to individuals (“the people”). The clear goal, back up by all the supporting documents from the time) was to enable the people to offer resistance to the newly-formed government. While that may seem quaint today, it nevertheless is historically accurate.

        There is an excellent article in The Hill which runs down a list of laws we often hear people call for. You may find it instructive.


  2. You really need to do some research on the meaning of ‘well-regulated’ at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

    1. Hi Mark and thanks for your response. I stand by my interpretation and for a dialogue that moves the conversation forward.

  3. Because English usage has changed a little in the last 200+ years it would be correct to say (Because) A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state(Period not comma) The right of the people to keep and bear arms (to protect themselves from a tyrannical state in control of the afore mentioned militia) shall not be infringed.

    We the people need to be able to protect ourselves from the state militia which is well trained. Reading is only half the battle, understanding what you have read is the most important part!

    1. I agree with you Rusty that English usage has changed, as has the availability of semi-automatic weapons. I hope we all support the responsible use of and protection from both.

      1. I’m curious that you think the availability of semi-automatic firearms has changed. It is much more involved now to buy one than it has been in the past. When I was a teenager, it was legal to buy one through the mail, and it would be mailed to your home. No age limits on buying a gun. Now you have to go through an FBI background check to buy any firearm from any gun store. More than 50 years ago I used a much more powerful semi-automatic rifle than the standard cartridge for the AR-15 when I shot my first deer at age 11. While you may not have heard much about semi-automatics, that certainly doesn’t mean they were not around, or that they aren’t popular.

      2. You bring up a good point and maybe the problem is with the high capacity magazines, rather than the standard cartridges you refer to. I think people like you and other experienced, responsible gun owners could help move the conversation towards a solution. We have spent some time here arguing semantics and discussing the history of weapons. I am wondering what your suggestions are to prevent the misuse of the weapons that are available. I am also wondering why responsible gun owners would not appreciate legislation that does not impact their own rights, but does limit access to weapons by those less than responsible people who want to obtain them for nefarious reasons. I am sure, for instance, that none of the four things I mentioned would impact your own ability to purchase the weapon of your choice.

    2. You are right on. Von Stueben wrote the Manual of Regulation for George Washington and it was mostly about training and proper use of equipment, especially weapons. Also, I hear comments about the changes of weapons. Well, at that time, we had better guns (Pennsylvania or Kentucky long rifles) than the red coats who were mostly using smooth bore muskets.

      1. Listen, I appreciate your regard for history. But, during the Revolutionary War neither Pennsylvania nor Kentucky had access to guns and high powered ammunition that could kill 17 people and wound 15 others in minutes.

  4. “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

    1. Again, no one is asking to repeal the Second Amendment. I am just suggesting a reasonable enforcement of it.

      1. Actually, a lot of very loud voices are calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. In truth, that would be the most honest approach. Don’t like the law? Repeal it. The more common approach, however, is to nibble away at it with restrictions: waiting periods, background checks, age limits, quotas on how many you can buy per month, no mail-order sales, limits on cartridge capacity, and many outright bans of a number of types of common firearms. Infringed. Imagine, just as an intellectual exercise, those restrictions being placed on First Amendment rights.

        Millions of us view these two amendments as equal in importance, and we fight to protect both. We continue to be amazed and saddened that so many people treat the Second Amendment as a second class law.

      2. Of course, there are legal restrictions on the First Amendment — libel, obscenity, discrimination. Don’t you think a sound defense of the second amendment would be to protect it from those who abuse it with their gross misuse of firearms?

    2. “I am also wondering why responsible gun owners would not appreciate legislation that does not impact their own rights, but does limit access to weapons by those less than responsible people who want to obtain them for nefarious reasons. I am sure, for instance, that none of the four things I mentioned would impact your own ability to purchase the weapon of your choice.”

      Now we are moving closer to the real issue. You either assume, or have heard, that gun owners don’t “appreciate” legislation which makes it harder for bad or unqualified people to buy guns, or that we oppose all types of firearms legislation. I realize that the gun-ban industry (and an industry it is) and the media repeat these claims, but one would do well to do some first-hand research rather than swallow the stuff from either the NRA or the gun banners.

      For instance, who has given away more than 50 million gun locks and gun-safety kits? Not the gun control folks. The firearms industry, through Project Child Safe, has done this. Who has taught a gun *avoidance* program to children — more than 10 million — teaching them that if they see a gun they should STOP, DON’T TOUCH, LEAVE THE AREA, TELL AN ADULT? Oh, that would be the NRA. Who is working with suicide prevention groups to help reduce and prevent firearm suicides? That would be the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation. Who has been working for years to fix the FBI background check system so that people who truly should not have guns are actually reported by the states to the FBI? Yes, gun owners, that’s who.

      Here’s one you may not have heard. Over the last 20 years (according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports), “gun crime” is down by half. Murders with guns are down by half. But our politicians don’t applaud the massive advances in safety, and instead proclaim that we must “do something” about the mythical “epidemic of gun violence.”

      “High capacity” magazines? So, what is the correct number of cartridges a firearm should hold? There must be a specific number for this concept to hold up. Is it 30? 15? 10? 7? Zero? There is no such thing as “high capacity” unless the goal is to ban standard magazines. Then, a politically-charged term like this is helpful.

      Did your local media report the fact that when President Obama ordered the CDC to study gun laws a few years ago, it reported it could find no evidence of a gun law reducing crime? No, I didn’t think so.

      Accidental gunshot deaths? At the lowest number (not the rate) in the last 100 years, according to the National Safety Council. This goes for accidental shooting deaths of children (fewer than 100 per year), and we continue our massive education programs to keep bringing down this number

      You see, we gun owners are actually reducing gun deaths, reducing gun accidents, and we stand in the forefront of Gun Safety in the U.S.. This may be why we sometimes react strongly when we are accused of somehow being responsible for the criminal misdeeds of others.

      ps. On the matter of the AR-15 rifle … It’s one model of rifle. The FBI says that each year more people are killed with fists and feet than with all rifles.

      The AR-15 — also the rifle a neighbor used to shoot the madman at the Sulphur Springs, TX, church shooting. That AR-15 was used to save many lives. Only one of many examples.

      We gun owners will continue to spend out time and our money to reduce gun accidents and gun crimes. At the same time, we will strongly resist (after the passage of 20,000 gun laws) the calls from the gun banners who coyly ask, “Won’t you just compromise on this one, little thing?” There is no restriction or ban they won’t support, and there is no “small measure” they aren’t willing to try as a move toward the clearly-stated goal of ending private firearm ownership.

      If you really want to do something for gun safety, become a certified firearms instructor.

  5. Let’s not ignore the last phrase, “shall not be infringed.” That means your four laws/regulations are not constitutional.

    1. My point was to take the amendment as a whole and, as you know, several amendments have had legal limitations placed on them in the intervening years. I am wondering, since you were good enough to take the time to respond, what suggestions you have to prevent the gross misuse of weapons by owners not as responsible as you.

  6. You say you want reasonable dialogue. Which is great. But you opened this with an attack on the intelligence of 2A supporters – ‘It is astonishing to me how many passionate supporters of the second amendment have never read it.’

    You ever heard the phrase ‘be the change you wish to see in others’?

    You can either attack 2A supporters for being stupid people who don’t read and/or understand what they’re supporting, or you can have reasonable dialogue with them, you can’t have it both ways.

    1. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, Isaac, but I definitely never said second amendment supporters are stupid people who don’t read.

      1. Hurt my feelings? Really? Given that your post was a condescending lecture to us simple minded 2A supporters who apparently need someone intellectually-superior like you to teach us the definition of words – because words are so hard – I’m not surprised you would also resort to that to personally attack the people who are actually giving your blog some views for a change – and who are spending time to actually try to have a dialogue with you.

        It’s clear from your responses that, even though you’re much better at seeming genuine (and maybe you even believe that you are) than the typical gun-control advocate, you don’t actually care about a reasonable dialogue with people from ‘the other side’. You’ve already made up your mind that you’re right, even though it’s painfully obvious your knowledge level on this subject is close to zero, and you have no intent on listening to anyone you disagree with.

        So for future reference, in case you haven’t already figured this out, if you jump in the ‘gun debate’ you better come prepared. Because unlike you, and the vast majority of other gun-control advocates out there, this isn’t some flippant – ‘something bad happened and now I’m sad and have suddenly decided to support or oppose issues I know nothing about’ – thing for us. We take this very seriously and many of us have dedicated a huge part of our lives to this ‘issue’. So don’t be surprised if anyone takes offense to being lectured by someone who has practically zero understanding of it.

  7. “I am wondering, since you were good enough to take the time to respond, what suggestions you have to prevent the gross misuse of weapons by owners not as responsible as you.”

    If you could get “gun crime” to fall by 5 or even 10 percent, that should be headline news. It’s actually down by 50%, according to the FBI, over the last two decades. We gun owners are, in fact, working (successfully) to “prevent the gross misuse of weapons.” What we are doing now is working exceptionally well. We could do better if we could get prosecutors and the U.S. Attorneys to actually prosecute felons in possession of firearms (rarely prosecuted) and could get judges to sentence those violators to prison.

    My suggestion: Make gun safety classes mandatory in public schools.

    But, with a huge 50% reduction in the last 20 decades, I would offer that there is no need to try gun control measures which all have been tried and found to fail. Doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    “Restrict access to assault rifles.”

    Highly restricted already. To own an assault rifle, you must apply to the federal government, pay a $200 tax, be fingerprinted and photographed, and you will then wait up to a year before you can get the tax stamp which allows you to own an “assault rifle.” (Note: assault rifles are full automatic, by definition.)

    “Mandate three-day waiting periods for gun licenses.”

    1. Gun licenses are not required in most states.
    2. Waiting periods have been tried on a national level and on state levels. No one could find any evidence that this reduced crime. They did, however, result in the deaths of a number of women who tried to buy a gun as defense against domestic violence, and who were murdered during the waiting period.

    “Require thorough, not cursory, background checks.”

    Do you know what the current FBI background check covers? Do you know what prohibits you from being able to buy a gun? 1. Felony conviction. 2. Misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence. 3. Adjudicated to be mentally incompetent. 4. Any number of other legal offenses. 5. A user of marijuana. (Yes, using marijuana makes it illegal for you to own or buy a gun.)

    Hardly cursory.

    “Make the 21-year age requirement mandatory for all gun purchases.”

    To what end? Are 18, 19, and 20-year olds the problem? How so? An 18-year old can carry a machine gun in the Marines, can pilot a plane, can drive a car (statistically much more lethal). Where is the problem? It’s hard to imagine that this restriction would affect the criminal activities of this age group.

  8. Gun Laws People Often Call For

    Here are some ideas for tough federal gun laws — most of which should have been enacted years ago.

    For people convicted of domestic violence, even a misdemeanor, how about a lifetime prohibition on firearms possession?

    Further, a government license should be required for anyone who wants to manufacture, import, or sell firearms. The license should be mandatory not only for formal businesses, but also for individuals who make repetitive transactions for the purpose of profit. This would cover people at gun shows who put up signs declaring themselves to be “unlicensed dealers.” Anyone who engages in the firearms business without a federal license should be punished by up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

    Manufacturers, importers, and dealers who are granted a federal license should have to keep meticulous records of every transaction. Their records and inventory should be subject to warrantless, random inspections by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). If a license-holder goes out of business, all the records of past sales should be delivered to the ATF.

    Before a gun store can sell a firearm to an ordinary citizen, the citizen should have to get government approval. This should apply not only to storefront sales, but also if the retailer rents a table at a gun show. As for the Internet, retailers can be allowed to advertise there, but the actual transfer of a firearm should only be allowed at the retailer’s place of business.

    The purchaser should be required to answer dozens of questions certifying her background information. It is important that the government know the purchaser’s race, and whether or not she is Hispanic. Before the sale is consummated, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a state counterpart ought to be contacted for a background check on the purchaser.

    Any customer who purchases two or more handguns in a week should be automatically flagged and reported to the federal government and to local law enforcement.

    Every handgun manufacturer should require handgun buyers to purchase a safe storage device for every handgun. Even if the buyer owns a gun safe, the buyer should always be forced to buy a separate locking device.

    Of course, licensed manufacturers should have to put a serial number on every firearm. If someone alters or obliterates a serial number, the person should face five years imprisonment.

    Felons should be forever prohibited from owning guns. They should never be allowed to hold a gun in their hands for even a few seconds. The lifetime prohibition should include non-violent felons who have been law-abiding for decades; anyone who was convicted of marijuana possession in 1971 should be presumed to be a continuing menace to society.

    A lifetime prohibition should also apply to anyone who has ever been committed to a mental institution. Mental illness is not necessarily permanent, but the ban should be.

    Patients prescribed medical marijuana should be banned, even in states where such use is legal. In fact, all medical marijuana cardholders should be automatically banned, regardless of whether they are current users.

    Current federal gun laws provide a statutory procedure for prohibited persons to petition the ATF for a restoration of rights. For example, ATF would have discretion to restore the Second Amendment rights of a non-violent felon who has been law-abiding for many years. Congress should enact appropriations riders to prevent ATF from considering such petitions.

    Only persons over 21 should be able to purchase a handgun at a gun store. That 18-to-20-year-olds defend our country with automatic weapons overseas does not mean that they can be trusted with handguns within our country. A similar law should bar rifle or shotgun purchases by persons who are under 18.

    Assault rifles must be virtually banned. These, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, are “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power.” For example, the Russian AK-47 or the American M-16 rifles. No civilian should be able to transfer or possess any assault rifle that was not already in circulation by 1986.

    Any of the older assault rifles in citizen hands should be registered with the government. If someone wants to acquire one, both the buyer and seller should have to file an application with the ATF. The tax for a transfer should be $200, to discourage ownership. In the application, the ATF should require fingerprints and two recent photographs. Local law enforcement should be notified. The FBI should conduct a background investigation, and the registration process should take months.

    If the purchaser is permitted to acquire the assault rifle, she should be required to maintain records proving that the rifle is registered, and notify the government of any change in address. To take the assault rifle out of state, the owner should need written permission from ATF in advance.

    Assault rifles are one type of automatic firearm, but there are many other types of automatics. All of them should be controlled just as strictly as assault rifles. A violation of the stringent laws on these guns should be a felony with up to 10 years imprisonment—and much longer in cases of multiple violations.

    The above is just the minimum baseline for federal laws. States should be allowed to enact must more restrictive additional laws.

    If you think that this legal system would make firearms the most-regulated common consumer product in the United States, you would be correct. Every one of the above restrictions is already federal law, and has been for decades. A few of these date back to the 1980s or 1990s. Most of them are from the Gun Control Act of 1968. The tax and registration laws on automatics are from the National Firearms Act of 1934.

    My thanks to Dave Kopel and Joseph Greenlee, who actually wrote this.


  9. The SCOTUS Heller decision states that firearms ownership is a individual right and that firearms in common use cannot be banned (as was the case in DC). It also states that people cannot be forced to lock up their guns.

    There’s just no way around this.

    People who are familiar with “soft targets”/”hard targets” have been consistently telling legislators that a stop gap measure is needed from the time the killing starts to the time armed people arrive. Gun rights advocates and the NRA want to shorten the time gap. The only way to do this is to arm people who usually come into contact with the killer, ie teachers and faculty.

    1. Maybe, but I’d love to see some suggestions from your group on how to prevent the killing from happening in the first place.

      1. Respectfully, there is no maybe about it. To stop an active shooter shortly after it starts there will need to be someone who is already close by that is armed, willing and able (I think high school coaches have the attitude/mindset for this). Yes, more guns are the answer, I don’t like it either. There are 320,000,000 guns in this country, guns typically last for around 100 years.

        -A unbiased national campaign to encourage people to buy gun safes and use them. The NRA should be involved, they understand gun owners, as with most things, we want results.
        -The FBI probably needs a dedicated department for investigating these types of threats.
        -Teachers need to get a better sense of what a hard target is.
        -Single points of entry for all schools, airport security essentially.
        -Teachers need to be enabled. Many are sufficiently competent to handle a firearm. If you can operate a car you can operate a firearm, they are very simple machines. We teach 18 year olds en masse how to shoot every day in the military. I know because I went through it.
        -Psychologists need a way to report potential killers to the authorities without violating HIPA laws, this could have prevented VA Tech, possibly Parkland, we don’t know.

        This is what I have off the top of my head. Please do not discount these solutions because I’m pro rights or they are imperfect. My side suggested many of these solutions after Sandy Hook, no one listened, and here we are talking about it again.

      2. More Solutions:
        -The Parkland killer shouldn’t have been able to buy that gun, he should have been adjudicated mentality ill a long time ago. People who have been adjudicated are not legally allowed to buy firearms as it stands now. Due process in proceedings like this is important. I say that because the anti rights folks in CA have stopped using due process to take away firearms.

        Something you have to understand about the anti rights folks, they care more about politics than anything else. Drunk driving for example, to combat this and have a real impact we could install breathalyzers in every single car, new ones and retrofit the rest. Breathalyzer technology is very mature and wouldn’t be expensive when produced on a very large scale. Deaths associated with drinking and driving would plummet, but this is likely the first time you’ve heard of such a suggestion. More people are killed every year due to DUI over semi auto rifles.

  10. “Well Regulated “ meant good at what they do. The Bill of Rights is saying, the government needs to keep their cotton picking hands off our guns.

    1. We can agree to disagree on this point, Barry. But, what if we agreed that your rights, the rights of responsible gun owners, remain intact. What suggestions do you have to keep weapons out of the hands of people who abuse them?

  11. That man could have gotten a gun by theft if not bought. No law would have prevented this. A gun in the hands of a good guy could have. A teacher, the coach or any number of others. You want a discussion on the second amendment the way you read it but only people on the far left, people that are scared of guns and people that are ignorant about what ‘rights’ are read it like you are attempting.

    1. My point is that he obtained it legally. I’d like to think we can agree that a 19-year old with his history should not have been able to purchase this gun so easily. Also, I’m trying to encourage a dialogue that doesn’t distinguish left and right, but works toward actual solution to the epidemic of mass killings we’re facing.

  12. So removing all emotion, and looking at this analytically. Based on the idea that we should restrict semi automatic rifles because too many people are killed each year, how can we justify the mostly unrestricted ownership of knives and other cutting tools? The numbers put forward by the FBI in their uniform crime report show that in 2016 374 people were killed with rifles of all types. Knives and cutting instruments were used to kill 1604 people. The rifles get outsized press for their misuse compared to other tools. In fact, we would could add shotguns (262) and blunt objects (472) and still not match the total deaths caused by stabbing. Where is the outrage over these deaths? Do they not matter? What do we do about the misuse of these products? This is why we gun owners get defensive. The rage is selectively placed to fit a narrative and it is transparent that it’s not really the deaths that matter.
    How do you regulate misuse? You can’t otherwise 60,000 people wouldn’t have died last year from drug overdoses.

    1. I was really hoping for a conversation that offered solutions. But, to your point, we have the Len Bias Law, which holds the suppliers of drugs accountable in drug overdoses. What is of obvious concern regarding the AR-15 is the speed with which a shooter can take down so many lives.

      1. Well, to counter point your point, it is also against the law to provide a firearm to someone that is not the original buyer (straw purchasing) or to attempt to buy a firearm when you are a prohibited person but yet these instances are rarely prosecuted. So maybe that is part of the solution enforcement of the thousands of laws already on the books. Other solutions could be redesigning schools and public places for security kinda like we’ve done for fire and earthquakes. Maybe we need to look at the ultra violent games and movie kids are exposed to. A lot of the drugs we use for behavior issues have side effects such as violence and anger. But I think is what is most telling is that you are locked on to what you think is that sure fire solution, banning the tool. I laid out a few causes and I could list many more that are of greater danger to our kids but you are worried about the speed at which few people die?

      2. Speed is of the highest importance, in the time that these attacks happen the shooter could be using a lever action rifle or a pump action shotgun. If we change the tool with the same result do we still have this conversation? I don’t think so because the narrative is hung up on the tool and not the cause. What is consistent is that when these attackers are finally confronted, they stop either by suicide or other means. I really believe that the most effective solution is to arm teachers and staff to respond quickly and send the message that we are not going to put up with this. We don’t have to hypothesize on the effects of this plan because it is already in place in many school districts around the country. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable but it is a solution that can be implemented quickly.

  13. I’m sure you felt the same grief as the rest of us at these horrific murders. You undoubtedly wrote this piece while still reeling from the anger we all felt. So it’s not surprising that little thought and no research was done by you in preparing it. Several comments have been made about the errros in the article, but two have not been mentioned.

    At the gun store, he did not apply for a gun license. Florida does not have registration or licensing of firearms. He purchased a gun, just the same as if he purchased a car or a TV. Unlike purchasing a car or a TV, he had to get the permission of the Federal Government to buy the gun. He submitted to a background check by the FBI and was approved. That’s the law. In fact it’s one of those “common sense” laws that was supposed to stop events such as this.

    The next error is that he did not waltz into the gun store, he did the foxtrot…

    Seriously, the “waltzing into the gun store” reference was a cheap shot. You are better than that.

    1. Thanks for the comment though, as with the rest of your group, I am disappointed that it does not offer any solutions to our national epidemic of mass shootings. I’d like to think we can agree that the background check you point out was cursory at best.

      1. Actually, I disagree with your assumption that the background check was cursory. The FBI background check has many triggers that prevent the legal purchase of a gun, including adjudicated mental incompetence. The government failed to get a court to declare him mentally ill. The government (FBI, Local Law Enforcement and Soscial Services) knew this guy was a problem and failed to act – within EXISTING laws.

        The solution I propose is a competent government that actually enforces the 20,000 existing gun laws.

      2. “… as with the rest of your group”

        You know nothing about me or the groups with which I may identify. There is no need for identity politics here.

  14. “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

    1. Again, I am not doubting that your group knows its history. What I am asking from your knowledgeable group are some reasonable solutions.

  15. How about something that will work? Change the school architecture to get positive control. That way, the creep can’t walk in, pull the fire alarm, and set up a kill zone. Re-think “gun free zone” so that properly vetted people can carry on the premises. At least 18 states have this including California and Connecticut. Yes, those two surprised me but there they are. Sadly, Florida was not on that list. See John Lott’s book More Guns, Less Crime written by a statistician who was surprised by his own findings. Final thought: CCW holders tend to have the lowest crime rates, lower than either Law Enforcement or Legislators. What if there had been a number of CCW holders carrying on those four airliners on 9/11/2001?

    1. I appreciate the suggestions. I really do. I would also like to work toward some solution to keeping the weapons away from “the creep”. My issue is not with responsible gun ownership, it is with the “creep’s” easy access to semi-automatic weapons with high powered magazines.

      1. I’m sure you researched this before you wrote it, so please describe what a “high powered magazine’’ is and how it played a part in this tragic event.

  16. Molly,

    It’s clear that you are sincere in your concern and your desire to find “a solution.” What’s also clear is that your base knowledge (what you “know” to be true) is badly flawed. As a result, you don’t hear what we are saying, and you dismiss the decades of history those of us who work daily (yes, daily) on these issues have.

    Case in point: You said, “I am disappointed that it does not offer any solutions to our national epidemic of mass shootings. I’d like to think we can agree that the background check you point out was cursory at best.”

    “National epidemic of mass shootings” is a great sound bite, but it simply is not true. This is where what you “know” to be true has positioned you at a place where you can’t see or hear the reality. Let me back that up.

    It has been claimed that the Florida school shooting is number 18 this year. No less than the Washington Post (hardly a fan of the NRA) debunked that nonsense, pointing out that this number was generated by a gun-ban group co-founded by Michael Bloomberg, who has pledged millions to push for restrictions on gun owners.

    Further, Politifact debunked the huge numbers claimed by “Mass Shooting Tracker” and parroted by many politicians that there is an “epidemic of mass shootings.”

    Politifact: “The Congressional Research Service counted 25 incidents in 2013, compared with 363 incidents counted by Mass Shooting Tracker.” http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2015/oct/08/debbie-wasserman-schultz/how-many-americans-have-been-killed-mass-shootings/

    No one is saying that 25 mass shootings is good, but it makes meaningful discussion impossible when one group simply makes up massive numbers to push the gun-ban agenda. You appear to have bought into this popular-but-bogus belief that we have an epidemic of gun violence, or an epidemic of mass shootings, or an epidemic of school shootings. None of those is true.

    Are you aware of the school shootings which have been stopped by students with guns, or staff with guns?

    We on the gun-owner side work on this every day. Literally. We have done very, very well. Accidents are down. Murders are down. We have a national background check system (did anyone point out to you that the NRA was instrumental in setting that up?), every gun purchase from a gun dealer (whether at the store or at a gun show) must be approved by the FBI.

    You see only the misuse of firearms. We see tens of millions of people shooting billions of rounds a year safely and responsibly, and we see the misuse of guns as a tiny fraction of gun use. There are, by best guesses, 100 million gun owners and 300 million guns in the U.S. If there were, in fact, 25 mass shootings, can one even come up with an understandable number when comparing the legal use of all guns (yes, including semi-automatic sporting rifles) with this number of mass shootings?

    Not to sound clinical about this, because we all ache and agonize when innocent people are killed, through any means, but when establishing public policy, one simply must look at the problem realistically, must look at what has been tried, what has worked and what has failed, and only when one has a thorough understanding of what has gone before can one reasonably come up with a plan of action.

    How many children have died in school fires in the last 50 years? Zero. Why? Because we pour money into making schools fire-safe. You could build and remodel schools to make them more resistant to intruders, but no one is offering up the billions of dollars that would take. Instead, they take the easy way out. The way that has proven, over time, to not work.

    When someone proposes banning any class of gun, I am prompted to ask how other prohibitions have worked. Alcohol? The War On Drugs? And those are consumable. Guns last virtually forever.

    So, we are offering a plan. You appear to reject it out of hand and then worry that no one is offering a solution. Let me try again.

    1. You can not prevent this. You can only reduce the effects by putting in serious security measures.

    2. In the event that an attacker (with a gun or anything else) does make it inside the school, you have two choices on stopping him. 1. Call 911 and ask them to send someone with a gun. That involves waiting anywhere from 5 minutes to two hours (See Virginia Tech), during which time, people are being shot. Or, 2. You can have someone on the scene who has the training and has a firearm stop the attack. (Google “Stopwatch Of Death.”) It happens over and over, all over the country, in schools, malls, churches, etc. Trained men and women with guns stop attackers.

    That’s the solution. It’s not standard-capacity magazines. It is not “bad-looking” guns (which is all the modern semi-autos are).

    There are many other areas worthy of our time: Hyper-violent video games, “reality” TV shows which glamorize hateful behavior, the use of mind-altering drugs on our young people, etc. The firearms community really can’t do anything about that, nor should we. What we can do — what we are doing — is working within the framework of our “universe.” We teach safe gun handling. We teach young children to avoid guns. We teach safe gun storage and give away tens of millions of gun locks. We give our own money to fund training for teachers who want to provide protection for students without having to throw their bodies in front of bullets.

    We are involved on a daily basis. We are doing things. We are there, on the ground, spending money, spending time, getting great results with lower gun crime rates, lower gun accident rates, and constantly working to improve what is already a great track record.

    Frankly, it’s insulting when you say “I am disappointed that it does not offer any solutions to our national epidemic of mass shootings.”

    We gun owners do a lot, but what we will not do is accept the blame for criminal actions of others, which is what the gun-ban chorus attempts to force on us.

    In the end, we invite you to actually do something rather than wring your hands and wonder aloud “Why isn’t anyone doing anything?”

    The water’s fine. Come on in.

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