Tragic. Avoidable. Sad. Upsetting. There are a lot of words that come to mind when thinking about the awful shooting that left so many dead. I’m sure the families of those impacted need time to process, think, and grieve. Lets all be respectful and let that process happen before adding smoke to this situation, which can only serve to obscure the facts, delay real solutions and further hurt the families in their time of grief.
But when we do get to the rhetoric, I’d put a few facts and thoughts on the table for commentators to consider and news organizations to fact-check before putting pen to paper or words through lips.
– This isn’t about the device used. Yes, it was a gun. Would you feel better if this was done with a knife? A Bomb? An arsonist? My point is, it’s not about the device used, it’s the person and ACTIONS the person took that matters.
– Focus on “AR15″… that will be uttered endless times. As will “high power”, “automatic weapon”, “high capacity” and “military-style weapon”. Consider the following: All weapons are designed to kill and most, from pistol to shotgun to rifle and to “AR15” can cause the same carnage. So focusing on the AR15, and even magically making every AR15 in the world disappear wouldn’t change a thing. A person with bad intentions will just select another ‘device’, like a pistol. Then what? We’re back to banning all weapons right?
– Capacity is always talked about… but two facts must be clearly understood. It takes LESS THEN 3 SECONDS to insert a new “mag” into the weapon. Here’s the important part… that’s TRUE regardless of it being an AR15, Pistol or most other weapons. So when you hear rhetoric about ‘limiting capacity’ understand thats NOT going to change the outcome of a mass shooting. It is the RARE exception that someone actually rushes the shooter to stop them. In 95+ percent of the cases it’s another person with a weapon that STOPS the criminal with the weapon. Capacity, AR15, and high power discussions are all irrelevant. Criminals IGNORE THE LAW.
– The question “was the gun bought legally” will be asked 100x a day. As an FFL I can tell you there are “good common sense” gates in place that have to be all properly gone through before any weapon can be sold. FFL’s are actively inspected, accurate documentation maintained and available for spot inspections, tracking, FBI background checks AT THE TIME OF TRANSFER, and may other ‘common sense’ things. So if you want to talk about how criminals get guns, the answer is they get them illegally. Period. And if they got them legally, it’s because at the time of purchase they weren’t criminals, or involved in domestic disputes, and a long list of other things that are checked. So appropriate checks are in place when buying through licensed dealers and FFL’s. So don’t generalize when you argue the point of “anyone can get a gun anywhere”. Thats simply NOT the case.
– Criminals IGNORE THE LAW. Let me say that again. Criminals IGNORE THE LAW. If I take my legally owned car, with my valid license and drive into a crowd intentionally – I’d be a criminal. And no one in the media would say “When are we going to ban these cars!” or “These cars are just too high powered” or “that car had military style tires”. All would be ridiculous arguments. In a tragic situation like Florida, it’s just as ridiculous to say “when are we going to get common sense gun laws”. It would be more appropriate to ask “when are we going to get good enforced penalties for law breakers”?
I’m for background checks. We do that today. I’m for crazy people NOT having access to any weapon. I’m for strong penalties for anyone using any device illegally. What I’m not for are laws that intend to disarm law abiding citizens. If you know history, you know the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting. So when you hear “why does someone need an AR15 to hunt deer?” you should say “The 2nd Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting – Don’t FOG the issue with false information”.
Turn on the news… and already it’s endless rhetoric, endless false facts, and so the fight begins. It would be good this time if the focus was Personal Responsibility. Blame the criminal. Punish the criminal. We’re all for that. But for goodness sake don’t punish law abiding citizens by making this about gun control.
Want proof that the media and state governments are ill informed? Read about the New York SAFE act… Do you know the difference between a “NY compliant rifle and a non-compliant one”? You might be surprised to know the difference has to do more with looks than function. The ‘grip’ can’t “conspicuously protrude”, you can’t have a bayonet lug, you can’t have a stock that adjusts to length (which makes shooting safer)…. but you’ll notice that nothing about the SAFE Act makes the gun “safe”. Some will point to the fact that NY limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds – but I’ll remind you that criminals IGNORE THE LAW so again… tell me how that makes it SAFE? So when you hear the politicians talk about “Common sense gun laws” and you see things like the NY SAFE ACT you realize two things. First, they don’t know about guns thus they don’t know how to make common sense laws. Second, all the laws in the world don’t stop criminals from being criminal. So if you’re going to join the conversation, at least know some basic facts about guns and the unintended consequences of having the wrong conversation.
My 2 cents…