After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School the National Rifle Association went silent for a few days. Many of us were hoping they would either remain silent or consider a dialogue about gun safety. So much for that hope. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre responded by saying that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The NRA is now calling on Congress to put an armed guard in every school in America.
That’s right: the answer to gun violence is more guns.
Years ago one of the NRA’s tag lines was “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Clearly gun violence happens only in combination of guns and people; I used to joke that the difference between the NRA and me was that I wanted to eliminate the guns and the NRA wanted to eliminate the people. I didn’t realize how right I was until now. They argue that the world is divided into good people and bad people, that bad people will always have access to guns no matter what we do, and (we) good people have to make sure we’re not outgunned.
Their “reasoning” is silly (and dangerous) on so many levels. First and foremost, we simply can’t divide our nation between good people and bad people: it’s not that simple. The overwhelming majority of us would never dream of turning a gun on anyone and I’ll admit that even nations that have restrictive gun laws haven’t completely eliminated gun violence. But we have way too many murders in this country only because there is easy access to guns, and guns that are too powerful for any other use.
Sandy Hook is a good example. We still don’t know the shooter’s motive but we do know what happened. His mother legally owned a number of powerful weapons. He had access to them and used them to kill 26 people and himself. If assault weapons were illegal there is no indication that he would have had the interest or opportunity to obtain them illegally. Whatever rage, loneliness, or other demon lived in his soul may have found a violent outlet, but it wouldn’t have killed 20 children and 6 adults.
Second, the NRA “solution” likely would not have worked. The shooter shot his way through the front door of the school. Had there been an armed guard in school he would have had to be at the entrance the shooter used (did your elementary school have only one entrance?) and be able to accurately fire the first shot. In my previous post I spoke of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmer’s suggestion that if the principal had been armed she could have prevented this. Yes, but only if she was carrying the gun and was able to outshoot an assault rifle.
And finally, we need to stop listening to the voices who insist that more guns equal more safety. The shooter’s mother was killed by her own weapon, and any gun in a school has the potential to be used accidentally. Lock it up? Sure, but that makes my point: any gun that is secured won’t be instantly available if needed.
We don’t need more guns. We need to get rid of the these “personal weapons of mass destruction.” Yes, I made that up.
And again, we need to tell our representatives that the NRA may target their seats, but they cannot target my vote.