Mass Shootings Point to a Problem—and It Isn’t Guns

I’m a father of four children who all attend public school. My love for them and their value to me and to society are immeasurable. When they enter their school building, where they spend the most time outside of our home, I want to know they are safe and have confidence that they are being protected. That is the hope of every parent regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion.

But in the wake of the terrible tragedy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the debate has begun once again regarding guns. The gun control advocates wasted no time in calling for severe restrictions on the civil liberties of law abiding Americans. You can bank on many of the Left continuing to promote policies that not only fail to prevent future violence, but also infringe upon the rights of every American.

We’ve tried banning so-called “assault weapons.” In 1994 Bill Clinton signed The Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which banned not only magazines with a capacity larger than 10 rounds, but also created an entirely arbitrary list of banned features that classified a firearm as an assault weapon. Banning these largely cosmetic features had absolutely no effect on gun crime.

When the ban expired in 2004, a study funded by the Department of Justice stated that “By most estimates, assault weapons were used in less than 6 percent of gun crimes even before the ban.” It should be noted, too, that during the ten-year ban, mass shootings went up over the previous ten years. Even the left-leaning Guardian admits: “The 1994 federal assault weapon ban, after all, showed no evidence of impact on overall gun violence.”

The answer to these school shootings is not banning guns. And, being a realist, no matter where you stand on the issue of guns, a full-on ban simply isn’t going to happen in the short term, and likely never will. Gun ownership is too ingrained into the American psyche. There are too many firearms in the hands of Americans who are sane, responsible, and take gun safety seriously ever to make such a feat possible.

What is needed now isn’t political gamesmanship, but a realistic conversation about what can be done right now to prevent these types of horrendous acts of violence from happening in the future.

While these murderous psychopaths who commit these acts of horror and mayhem aren’t driven by any normal human desire, there’s still a logic to the locations they choose to attack: their violence is centered on soft targets, places that have little security and very little chance of resistance. Imagine banks not having security and then broadcasting to the general public the lack of armed guards or security precautions. We would think that insane. How much more valuable are our children? And yet we do precisely the opposite of what we do with our money when it comes to our schools by advertising that they are almost completely unprotected.

Politicians have done their level best to make our schools some of the softest targets there are right now. Liberals work tirelessly to make “gun free zones” that often are the most likely to be attacked. It’s time to repeal the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act, which in the real world means in most places all the normal law abiding people on school grounds have precisely zero guns when a heavily armed insane person shows up.

After 9/11, we made our airports and planes more difficult to attack. While I’m not suggesting we create anything like a TSA for our schools, it’s time to have a conversation about “hardening” schools. That includes physical barriers and restrictions on entry to make campuses and schools less open to those who might target children. In my kids’ grade school in Northern Virginia, there is only one point of entry where you must stand before a camera and show your driver’s license before being allowed into the school. While these precautions are by no means impermeable, they can dissuade attacks, slow down attackers, and allow authorities time to respond.

Similarly, we must increase our schools’ ability to have onsite response. We trust our kids to these teachers for roughly eight hours a day. Many schools employ police officers as School Resource Officers, but it’s time to increase their use across the country. We should also consider allowing teachers and administrators to be trained and certified as security guards.

Schools in Texas and Colorado have already decided to allow qualified employees to carry firearms at school, after proper training and background checks. Depending on the state, teachers could be trained over the summer. School districts could fund the training, with anywhere from 12 to 72 hours worth of training needed to be certified security guards. We trust teachers every single day to nurture our students academically, setting them up for success throughout life. We should extend the same trust to keep them physically safe at school, if they so choose.

What also needs to be addressed is how background checks are completed. It’s clear the Florida shooter had issues that were visible to many around him, yet was still able to purchase an AR-15. We need to have a conversation about how background checks are completed, the depth and rigor of the background checks, and the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to access every piece of information needed to ascertain whether someone should be allowed to purchase a firearm.

No one can dispute that recent perpetrators of mass gun violence should not have been cleared for gun ownership of any type. In the same way federal, state, and local law enforcement departments continue to face challenges in sharing information and data in real time (so-called “interoperability”), we must find a way to ensure that licensing agencies have the ability to access the information they need to make legitimate and accurate decisions on potential licensees.

But every time a politician attempts to make a good-faith effort to solve what everyone acknowledges is a gaping hole in gun licensing, the progressive, anti-gun lobby looks to take that opportunity to deny legitimate gun owners their Constitutional rights. Instead of working with their colleagues across the aisle, they try instead to throw sand in the gears of taking steps toward real safety. Either folks want legitimately to make a difference, or they want to play games for broader political purposes. If it’s the former, great. If it’s the latter, then they are part of the problem we are facing, not part of the solution.

About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

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41 responses to “Mass Shootings Point to a Problem—and It Isn’t Guns”

  1. Please explain how mass shootings can occur without guns? And what was the other problem?

    • Please explain why private gun ownership is forbidden in Communist/Socialist countries. Stupid troll.

    • Wrong question. Please explain why there are mass shootings and what is the motives driving these shootings?

    • You should be thinking “mass killings.” This will get you closer to the source of the problem which is, “What causes people to go on a killing spree, and what can we do to identify who these people may be?” The choice of murder weapons is irrelevant.

    • Okay, sure. Get some diesel fuel and some farm fertilizer. Combine it in the correct quantities and you’ve got a well known explosive that you’ll need to find out for yourself what it is.

      Detonate it and you’ve killed at least 10 people without them even having a chance at escape. That happened in gun free Norway a few years back.

      It’s ridiculous to imagine mass murder stops when all the guns are taken away. A gun, as precision instrument, gives you a chance of hiding or fleeing.

  2. You need a history lesson. It is not guns.

    The Bath School disaster, sometimes known as the Bath School massacre, was a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan, which killed 38 elementary schoolchildren and six adults and injured at least 58 other people.[Note 1] Kehoe killed his wife and firebombed his farm, then detonated an explosion in the Bath Consolidated School before committing suicide by detonating a final device in his truck.

    Andrew Kehoe was the 55-year-old school board treasurer and was angered by increased taxes and his defeat in the Spring 1926 election for township clerk. He was thought to have planned his “murderous revenge” after that public defeat. He had a reputation for difficulty on the school board and in personal dealings. In addition, he was notified that his mortgage was going to be foreclosed upon in June 1926.[1] For much of the next year, a neighbor noticed that he had stopped working on his farm and thought that he might be planning suicide. During that period, Kehoe purchased explosives and discreetly planted them on his property and under the school.

    Kehoe murdered his wife Nellie sometime between May 16 and the morning of May 18, 1927; she had just been discharged from the hospital with an undefined illness. He then detonated various incendiary devices on his homestead on the morning of May 18 at about 8:45 a.m., causing the house and other farm buildings to be destroyed by the explosives’ blasts and subsequent fires.

    Almost simultaneously, an explosion devastated the north wing of the Bath Consolidated School building, killing 36 schoolchildren and two teachers. Kehoe had used a timed detonator to ignite hundreds of pounds of dynamite and incendiary pyrotol, which he had secretly planted inside the school over the course of many months. As rescuers began working at the school, Kehoe drove up, stopped, and used a rifle to detonate dynamite inside his shrapnel-filled truck, killing himself, the school superintendent, and several others nearby, as well as injuring more bystanders. During rescue efforts at the school, searchers discovered an additional 500 pounds (230 kg) of unexploded dynamite and pyrotol connected to a timing device set to detonate at the same time as the first explosions; the material was hidden throughout the basement of the south wing. Kehoe had apparently intended to blow up and destroy the entire school.

    • Yes, there are numerous ways to kill a lot of people. Semiautomatic weapons are only effective when no one is shooting back.

      • Bullets flying your direction does inhibit your aim dramatically.

    • Golly! You’re right! If someone blew up a bomb 91 years ago, we shouldn’t ban assault rifles today!


  3. Most of the shootings are by young males, usually on psychotropic drugs prescribed to affect their thinking and feeling. If you put people on drugs that lead them to homicidal thoughts and actions, the blame lies with the drugs and the drug peddlers.

  4. Let me start by stating that the young man in Florida was not a random shooter. He had a beef with someone in that school, a school at which he had been a student. Granted, he is alleged to have made statements that he wanted to shoot up a school. The question is “why”? What had happened that prompted him to want to kill students? I strongly suspect that someone at the school had done something to him that really pissed him off. As for background checks, I know exactly what is required because I bought a firearm recently. The applicant answers a series of questions on a tablet computer and they are fed to a central location. The system checks the person’s record. It takes about 15 minutes. In short, there is no way to rule out a person who has no arrest records.

    • “I strongly suspect that someone at the school had done something to him that really pissed him off. ”

      No, the background is very clear. Highly unstable personality starting about freshman year of high school

      “In short, there is no way to rule out a person who has no arrest records.”

      The shooter had:

      -39 contacts with the local police in 4 years
      -Had a tip line call into the FBI as late as Jan 5
      -Had been expelled from school for threats of violence (it takes a serious offense to be expelled from a public school)
      -Was not old enough to drink

      This is gross incompetence at the FBI. There’s no point in an FBI background check if they’re only doing an Internet search for arrest records.

  5. Please explain why private gun ownership is forbidden in Communist/Socialist countries. Stupid troll.

    • Is that a rhetorical question, as if you have any brains you should absolutely know why? Maybe, you’re being sarcastic as I have no idea what you’re talking about so please explain……thanks!

  6. Another gun-control article detailing how it is possible to have gun-rights but no guns. All we have to do is tighten the noose via background checks and eliminate guns from those who we know will commit crimes with the guns. No to you and your nutty gun-control fiends.

    Defend our children in our schools from those who would harm them.

  7. The school shootings are the direct result of people embracing the values of the new left. These people have no respect for anything; not the Constitution, not the flag, not the President of the United States and therefore not their fellow human beings. They delight in demonstrating contempt for authority. Look at it! This is what “contempt for authority” looks like in the mind of a disturbed adolescent. Look at the culture of the left with, the violent Antifa Fascists for whom street power and name-calling has replaced reason, and their pussyhat march celebrating 60 million dead from abortions. Is it any wonder where it leads when human life is trevialized?

    The lack of respect starts with the MSM’s treatment of our President and prominent senators telling supporters to “resist” when they don’t get their way. If they can behave this way when voters reject them, why can’t he when his school rejected him? This, the shooting of Republican Congressional baseball team and the violent attack on Rand Paul are all expressions of the lack of respect that has permeated out society on the left. We have had guns in this country forever, but we didn’t have people with such fundamentally flawed basic values. The mass shootings are simply an extension of their madness. Abandoning our Bill of Rights will not appease them and will not diminish the hatred in their hearts.

  8. Like it or not Profiling Behavior is the starting point. Specific criteria to be put on a list which would give the FBI to investigate and give them the power to confiscate guns and what ever property would cause harm to others and send that person for psychiatric evaluation

    • It’s no good calling on the FBI.They already new about this shooter and were too busy chasing”Russia,Russia,Russia”

    • Really? The fbi had the power and enough info to get this guy off the street and didn’t. You want to give these goofballs the power to confiscate weapons?

      • Yes thru after meeting criteria , which needs to be established i.e. He was hospitalized for his strange behavior, kicked out of school social postings, documented verbal threats, this can be put through the court system to obtain special warrants. This was a total multi system failure of sharing information between authorities

  9. The FBI new about this”Killer”but did nothing about him.Why is that?And after the last couple of school shootings,you would think that these”Leftards”and”Progressives”would be jumping up and down about security at ALL schools,but NO,they go straight for the GUN OWNERS.Just goes to show,that they are only interested in taking peoples LIBERTY away,not KIDS safety.

  10. My mother used to tell me stories how kids would walk long distances to school and many times the boys would bring their guns, store them safely and on their way home hunt for squirrel or other game. It was no big deal and no one consider shooting people.

  11. Why didn’t the FBI office in DC forward the tip on Cruz to the Miami field office? Was the tip deliberately withheld for political purposes??

    • What nobody is reporting is how often such “tips” are submitted. If there were one or two, then ignoring the Cruz tip was gross negligence. But what if the FBI gets 100 such “tips” each day? The first problem with all intelligence is to filter the noise from the signal.

      • The gun control agenda is a political agenda and the FBI has been politicized. What is more important to the politicized FBI, political gain or protecting the public?

  12. School [and most workplace] shootings literally target defenseless and innocent individuals.
    No matter how psycho the killers may be, NONE OF THEM go to attack a police station.
    That’s because, behind the facade of lunacy, camo and ARs, they’re COWARDS.
    The only effective deterrent to such COWARDS is an armed populace, in particular teachers, Democrat schoolmarms notwithstanding.
    Time to wise up.

  13. “I’m a father of four children who all attend public school. My love for them and their value to me and to society are immeasurable.”

    I know just how you feel, Hard as it might be, don’t send them to public school. There is no education only indoctrination there.

  14. We have armed guards for most things we value, banks, courts, federal buildings. We need the same for our most valued thing in life, our children. There are millions of retired law enforcement, and military that would jump at the chance to pull this duty. Protecting our kids or giving up our freedoms is a false choice. We can both protect our kids and keep our rights.

  15. So…banning assault rifles and whatnot “infringes on the rights of law abiding citizens” but your solution is to make schools and churches and malls feel like prisons?

    LOL…okay…so long as you can keep ‘hunting’ with an AR-15, I guess that’s a fair trade off.


  16. The guns are not the problem, period. This is tragic yes, but guns are not the problem. Its only a tool. Kids need to be educated. This kid had a mental problem. Kids now a days are glued to violence and guns on TV and Video games. They are shielded by real life. When was the last time Death was taught to kids? They watch violence on TV and play it on games where characters respawn and come back to life. When I was growing up I started using BB guns and .22 caliber long rifles with my dad and he taught me how to fire, clean and respect a firearm. I am pretty sure there are many young adults out there now who fire guns with their respective parents on weekends or go hunting and are safe. Gun education must be taught to kids of all ages to respect firearms. The military educates our people when they do basic training. We should do the same in schools and talk about guns.

    In addition, I think when a military person leaves and does there 4 years or 20 years, they should do 6-12 months of security detail at a school. This way it will give them time to adjust to coming back to civilian life and the schools benefit from a trained/armed guard in the school. I don’t know about students now, but in MA we had DARE officers with guns in the schools talking about guns and drugs. We respected them. If that school had a trained police officer/military person, it possible the death count would be reduced.