On February 14th, a mass shooting occurred at the Stoneman Douglas high School in Parkland, Florida. 17 individuals were killed and others wounded. One response from this was, ‘Thoughts and prayers are not enough!’ Others have been calling for ‘common sense gun control’ although that phrase can mean different things depending upon the source.
Is gun control really a security issue or is it a heart issue? What culpability is there for organizations like the FBI as they were warned in advance that this young man allegedly boasted that he wanted to be a professional school shooter. What about the many police visits that occurred at the shooter’s home? What laws could have been passed to stop this tragedy? After all, this happened in a gun-free zone.
Appearing on Crosstalk to discuss this and related matters was Michael Hammond. Michael is the legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America.
Is the U.S. the worst nation for mass shootings? According to Michael, Norway had a mass shooting and they have strict gun control. In 2015 France had more people killed in mass homicides than the entire Obama administration did in America.
Every year there are about 10,000 gun homicides in our nation. They occur in places like Chicago, Baltimore, New York City and Los Angeles. So the places where homicides occur in America, in any number, are those areas that totally ban guns.
Do stronger gun laws reduce gun violence? As part of his answer, Michael recalled a time when he was 14 years old and in the Junior ROTC program at an inner city high school in Kansas City. This means they were issuing semi-automatic M-1 rifles to 14 year olds. No one who saw these ROTC students had any idea that they were going to shoot up the school.
Then in 1996 Congress passed a law to outlaw guns in schools. About 2 years later, Columbine happened and the press used that incident to achieve gun control. The only impact of the extensive press coverage was to convince 10 more shooters that they could shoot up their schools and obtain their 15 minutes of fame. So now we have a cycle of shootings, one after another.
Jim then brought up a fact concerning CNN’s ‘town hall’ meeting that dealt with the Florida shooting. A survivor of the shooting said that the network rejected his proposal to discuss armed guards in schools. Instead, they handed him a scripted question on gun rights to ask during the meeting.
Michael believes CNN basically assembled a ‘lynch mob’ to create the illusion that youth in America want to ban guns. His example of proof was an NRA woman who had to be escorted by armed guards because the kids were shouting, ‘burn her, burn her!’ He also noted that these represented a carefully selected and scripted group of individuals who don’t represent America.
The Crime Prevention Resource Center indicates that 98% of U.S. public mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. Michael explained that when Congress passed the law banning guns in schools in 1996, it hadn’t been a big problem prior to that. After that it was a huge and recurring problem. One of the reasons is because disillusioned young men knew that if they wanted their ’15 minutes of fame’, they could enter a school, kill many people, and they wouldn’t have to worry because no one would fire back. Michael calls such zones, ‘safety-free zones’.
Michael asked what other institution in America takes the position to not defend itself with the idea that hopefully no one will attack it? He then noted how the nation’s capital spends over a billion dollars a year for armed guards and the White House spends a large amount for Secret Service. Hollywood parties have armed guards. He communicated that no other institution in America says they’re going to turn the attendees into ‘sitting ducks’ in order to pursue their politicized objectives.
Gun Owners of America