Logical thinking about gun control

Since we have decided somehow that we must be a 50/50 country aka Us against Them, it is impossible to have a reasonable debate on school shootings, gun control, 2nd Amendment or anything else.

Almost everyone that has an IQ above room temperature that is not captive to the NRA or the “All guns should be banned” movement would probably agree that there is no one singular solution to the recent or even previous school shootings. Remember Charles Whitman and his hunting rifle back in 1965?

So, let’s take it one point at a time and assume that logical minds will absorb some thoughts from each point and try very hard to to arrive at a blended solution without the burden of politicians seeking a one size fits all solution through enacting new laws and kowtowing to the activists that want something done right away.

• First of all, “right away” is unrealistic. Accept that and get used to it. Anyone who thinks a knee-jerk reaction law is going to solve anything or prevent an exact copycat of the last shooting is not being realistic or is pandering for political support. No one piece of legislation is going to solve the problem of school shootings. Here are some things that are being discussed:

• Raise the age at which you can buy a rifle or handgun to 21.

Sounds good, but when you realize that most people learn how to safely handle a handgun or rifle way before the age of 21, you have to ask yourself – why cut them off during the time they are most likely to learn correctly and safely how to handle firearms. There are probably 50 million people in this country who learned to safely handle firearm in the military when they were between the ages of 18 and 21 and if they didn’t learn it there, they learned from their father or grandfather on the farm at an even younger age.

So, raising the age to legally buy guns may have slowed down 2 or 3 law-abiding (??) shooters while penalizing 50 million responsible young adults by disarming them and thereby removing them from the armed defensive force we could have against the school shooter. Does that make any sense to anyone?

• Have teachers carry guns.

Obviously most teachers did not get into that profession thinking they would be morphed into law enforcement officers with a concealed weapon. None of them or any other civilian should be forced to carry a gun — simple common sense.

On the other hand, if a teacher or anyone else in the school wants to carry a concealed weapon and they have been vetted and properly trained — fine. Let them carry. The 2 now deceased teachers in Florida that rushed the shooter were very brave and they were there long before the armed police, and if those teachers had been armed and trained, there would have been fewer fatalities.

• Allow concealed carry of defensive weapons on college campus.

Pretty much the same thing as having teachers carrying guns, but on a college campus we have a full compliment of 18 to 21 year olds who could have been properly trained in the use and care of firearms with an emphasis on safety

• Ban all weapons.

I assume the people that promote this idea will still allow the military and police to be armed. Fine. Thanks for that. Now then, under this scenario no one civilian has a weapon. The entire country is a gun-free zone.

Well, we have actually already experimented with that. Schools are gun-free zones and the school shooters know this. That’s why they target schools. Creating a gun-free zone across the entire country is really a bizarre idea. When you also consider the fact that there are currently 300 million privately-owned firearms in this country and that equates to one per living person, it makes a gun ban a silly political point unless someone has an idea how to get all those guns away from their lawful owners.

Also need to get the guns from inner-city gang members and drug dealers and other criminals just to be on the safe side.

• Ban those assault weapons.

OK, which ones? The AK-47 that is basically a hand-held machine gun that shoots up to 300 rounds per minute. Yes that should be banned, but wait — it already is.

What about that nasty AR-15?

Some will tell you that’s an automatic weapon and all the school shooters have one and it is a military weapon that no civilian has any business owning.

Well, OK. Where to start? The AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon (one trigger pull, one round fired). Sure the bullets are bigger, but what’s that mean — you think we should start regulating bullet size?

By the way, does anyone know what the “AR” in AR-15 means? Assault rifle, right? Well, no not really. The AR-15 is named after its maker (as was the AK-47) and upon its debut to the civilian market in 1956 it was the Armalite Rifle #15. The military liked the design and from that the M-16 was created, years later.

• Increase the level of scrutiny for background checks before you let someone buy a gun.

Yes, that would be good. Maybe increase the waiting period as well. Even the NRA would not object to that. Maybe even encourage states to share information with one another to determine if an applicant has a disqualifying issue in another state. As basic as this sounds, some states do not share info when it comes to background checks. Might be able to fix this one at the federal level.

• Attack the NRA because … well, not sure why, but attack anyway.

Since this is three or four steps away from the real problem, let’s put this down as pandering. By the way, Delta, bonehead move with the NRA discount removal. Next time just stay out of the discussion. Some of us know your pilots are armed and think that is fine.

• But the NRA is evil because they lobby politicians.

The NRA was founded because marksmanship was pretty bad during the Civil War. Their goal was to train people to use firearms correctly. That remains their goal today but they spend an inordinate amount of time defending themselves from Second Amendment deniers and others who think gun control is about controlling what you can buy. The term gun control should be about how does one safely secure a firearm so children and other untrained and unauthorized people cannot use it.

Gun control also means controlling your gun while in use — specifically to hit the target without endangering others. The NRA and its 5 million members would happily ramp up their existing gun control training and safety programs to include school and campus defensive techniques for those over the age of 18 if they could spend less time fending off those that want them to just disband or stop lobbying or something.

• Close the gun show loophole.

Please stop saying that. It is political BS.

• Get serious about treating or confining the mentally ill

This is a great idea but when we have this hyper sensitivity about patient privacy and allow the health insurance companies to push all kinds of patients out of hospitals and other mental care as quickly as they can — how can we be serious about a solution here unless the insurance companies are willing to participate.

• We have to do something. Pass a law — any law at all

Fine. Can do. State and federal politicians will probably pass yet another law and they will fund-raise off of if they are proud of it or even if they oppose it. These people are real flexible. A federal or state law is simply feel-good pandering by those in power.

Better we should accept Tip O’Neill’s assertion about politics being local and look for solutions right here at home.

• I know — let’s have a student protest and walk out of class. That’ll make them do something. How about Wednesday the 14th?

Mighty fine. A protest. A walkout. Not sure what is being protested or who the “them” is that needs to do something, but I’m sure we will all learn something about the students and maybe even the teachers in our local schools.

Maybe teachers can pass out this letter to their students when they return to the classroom and use it as a lesson plan that leads to a teachable moment. After all, if they are 16 and 17 now, they are going to be the ones in charge of solving these problems in 10 or 15 years. Be good to get started.

Therefore since everyone in school as teachers, administrators, students or their parents and grandparents wants a solution, what should we do?

The answer is very simple and also very complicated for some of us. Approach all the solutions with an open mind.

Forget that you may be a Republican or Democrat, a Christian or Muslim or Jew, a gay, transgender or straight person, a student or a teacher, a black or white or Hispanic or oriental person or any other label that those who which endeavor to control us put upon us, and just be an American that wants to solve the problem.

It is obvious to many that the solution is not going to come from the federal government. Anything that has a chance of helping avoid these horrific attacks in the future is going to have to be implemented at the local level.

Yes, that means you, Mr. and Mrs. school board, county commission and city governments working with local police, teachers and parents and, most of all, the students. And let us not forget the taxpayers.

Yes, we the taxpayer will get to participate with additional funding. Everybody has to understand the danger, commit to the local (not federal or state) solution and move on with our lives knowing we have done the best we can to solve or contain this horrible problem right here in Fayette County.

Do you want to be the next person on national TV that has to say, “I never thought this could happen in our community”?
Rick Schlosser
Peachtree City, Ga.