How to Prevent Mass Shootings
By Bob Branco
March 9, 2018
Every time a mass shooting takes place in this country, there is always a debate about how to protect ourselves from further violence. As I present both sides to this intriguing discussion, along with my own personal thoughts, I want to make it clear that there is no easy solution. All we can do is use logic and do the best we can.
One proposal that was made is that we arm all the teachers in the classroom. The idea is that if a mass shooter comes into the class, a teacher can take out her weapon and try to fight him. First of all, I would never deprive a teacher from her right to bring a gun into the classroom if she chooses to do that. She may feel safer that way, who knows? However, I wonder if a mandate to put guns in the teachers’ hands would really work. Look at it this way. You are asking teachers to use their hand guns to fight against an AR15 assault rifle. It might work, but as far as I know, David only beat Goliath once. I never owned an assault rifle, but I know this much. An assault rifle shoots off dozens of rounds in a minute. Many teachers never spent time in the military, but even with service experience, how much time do you think they would have to try to use their hand guns in defense of all those automatic bullets flying around? The teachers might as well get their own assault weapons.
This leads me to my big question. Why does the general public have access to assault weapons? For now, let’s leave mental illness out of it because my focus is on that big question. Adam Lanza, the young man who went on a shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook School, obtained an assault weapon from his mother. Though Lanza committed a heinous crime, please tell me why his mother needs to own an assault weapon? Does she even know how to use one properly? It’s like owning a cannon or a bomb. As far as I’m concerned, the only people who should have access to assault weapons are those with licenses to carry them, such as military personnel. Furthermore, we should be forced to take a test before thinking about such weapons.
A national sporting goods chain had the right idea. After the recent mass shooting at a Florida school, Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling assault weapons. Good for them. I admire their proactiveness. Am I saying that Dicks’ decision to stop the sale of assault weapons will completely end mass shootings? As I said at the beginning of this article, there are no easy solutions. However, wouldn’t you rather keep assault weapons out of as many hands as possible rather than add more guns to the schools, especially if most of those guns are inferior to those used by mass shooters?
Several years ago, a student at a local high school got mad at his teacher and threw a chair at her. What if the teacher had a gun, and what if the student knew where that gun was? I don’t think I need to explain the potential for more serious violence in this case. As you know, many kids outsmart their own teachers.
In closing, allow me to reassure everyone that I don’t have all the answers. All I am merely doing is providing logic where I feel it should be placed. We could bring mental illness into this discussion if we want, but if we take all assault weapons away from the general public’s access, we are also attempting to take them away from those with mental illnesses, as those people are part of the general public. As for age limits, it doesn’t matter to me if someone is 18, 21 or 95. No assault weapon for that person unless he is certified to carry one at his job or any other activity requiring such a weapon.
I’m sure that not everyone will agree with my opinions, but while the authorities attempt to solve this complicated problem, the rest of us can only speculate about what the right solution should be.