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Putting gun control in perspective.

February 24, 2018

The question of age.

Will raising the age to buy any kind of gun stop school or indeed any mass shootings? Well, let’s apply the same logic to far more deadly statistics.

Consider the following quote from the CDC

In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 221,313 [606 per day- editor] were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.1 That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.(emphasis added)

In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries”

Wow, that’s a lot more death and injuries every year than is caused by all the guns in America, and often the carnage is caused by the drivers deliberately driving while impaired either by alcohol, drugs or use of cell phones, all of which are intentional acts.

Using the logic of the left, would denying teens the right to drive or buy a car until they are 21, stop all that death and destruction?

Damn right it would, at least in that age group. Do you see that offered as a solution anywhere in the above quotes?


The question of intent.

Both guns and cars are inanimate objects until acted upon by human impulse, which can turn them into deadly weapons.

Let us examine that analogy again. Pardon the bold print, but you need to read this next part.

No car injures another person or animal or someone’s property until you hit the start button or turn on the key, put it in gear and it moves.

No semi-automatic weapon, unless it has been modified, fires even one shot until the human pulls the trigger. Every time that rifle or handgun fires, it is because someone pulled the trigger.

That’s something gun control people don’t want you to notice.

What makes a semi-automatic weapon different from say a bolt action 30.06 or a single-shot .22 or a 6-shot revolver is that it doesn’t take a manual act to extract the shell casing. For the uninitiated, that is the part that holds the gunpowder. That makes getting the next round into firing position a lot faster.

To make semis fire a projectile, you must pull the trigger. They fire faster only because the casing ejector doesn’t require a separate manual operation.

That means the Florida killer pulled the trigger on his weapon 150 times, unless he modified its action. From a legal standpoint, that technically makes each time he fired but didn’t hit anyone, a separate act of attempted murder. It is unknown whether the Florida killer had modified his weapon.

For the record, AR-15s are often modified for burst fire (clusters of rapid fire) by civilian owners for competitive shooting. That is legal at this point in time, and is relatively easy (but not necessarily cheap) to do for a skilled owner with the proper parts and tools, or by a gunsmith. There are also cheaper add-ons like the so-called “bump stock.”

They are not legally sold to civilians as fully automatic weapons and even with modifications don’t shoot 150 rounds all at once, as one so-called expert alleged, primarily because the comparatively thin metal of the barrel would deform so much the weapon would be unusable.

For the record, fully automatic weapons have been banned from civilian ownership since the 1930’s.

Yet, in the aftermath of the school shootings, somehow everyone thinks that raising the age to buy a firearm of any kind to 21 or banning the sale of unmodified semi-automatic weapons is magically going to solve the problem.

That’s what makes all the gun control arguments so maddening. They remove the element of personal accountability.

There is a reason we call these active SHOOTER incidents, not active DISCHARGE incidents.

There are some suggestions out there that would be effective on some level, but as we saw in Florida, that too is human-dependent. .

Hardening the schools is perhaps the most effective proposal and statistics illustrate why age-limited purchases would be ineffective.

Only a fraction of on-campus deaths and injuries on schools involving guns, and NOT including suicides, off-campus deaths and injuries and accidental shootings are committed by people under the age of 21.

Ponder this for a minute.

Since January 1, 2000, there have been 246  documented, deliberate attack-style K-12 campus related school shootings, as gleaned from this information compiled by Wikipedia (the most complete open source compilation of statistics available to an average reader).

Of those instances, where ages were given, 86 (or 35%)  were committed by persons under 21.

Not included in that tally for this article were:

Colleges and universities (which have their own campus police forces), drive-by shootings and other shootings where the shooters were fully off-campus, or where ages or shooters couldn’t be identified. Choice of weaponry documentation was too fragmented to include here.

The moral here is that one-size fits all solutions aren’t the answer because the shootings are not being committed only by people under 21.

Background checks are valuable, but not unless they contain all the reasons a person should not have a gun.

First, there is the mental health debate. Some gun control activists want everyone to undergo a separate psych evaluation, at their own expense, before being allowed to purchase a gun.

Political correctness, outdated laws and pure propaganda.

The social justice activists oppose reporting someone as mentally ill because it might stigmatize them.

Then there is the question of HIPAA.

Reportable reasons for relevant mental instability can include certain defined mental illness diagnoses to using certain kinds of medications such as antipsychotics and illegal prescription drug use to any kind of criminal record more egregious than parking tickets or jaywalking.

Even responsible health professionals are very loathe to report those things, for fear of being charged for HIPAA violations or sued in civil court.

To make mental health reporting work, you have to first define all the things to be reported and then provide and enact significant  penalties for noncompliance in the reporting, as well as protections for the reporting authority.

As we have seen so tragically in Parkland, even that isn’t foolproof. Every process and every over 21 adult who could let those Stoneman-Douglas high schoolers down, did let them down, including apparently some police officers.

What about all the impassioned cries for more money and resources for mental health?

Unless we are willing to stop worrying about the so-called social stigma of mental illness, that’s pretty useless too.


There are dozens of people who should be charged as accessories to the Parkland shooting.

A Florida state senator, Kathleen Passidomo(R), during a segment on Fox News on Friday noted that the Parkland shooter had been recognized to have serious mental health problems since he was nine years old.

Are we to believe that there were no beds for him in a mental health facility for 10 years? That wasn’t the problem. The problem is that no one wanted to put him in one of those beds, nor did they want to keep him there, if that was the only avenue to keep him under control.

What’s next?

Well, for some it’s the total disarming of America. Those people are calling for an outright repeal of the Second Amendment.

Then there is the proposed requirement to require background checks even for members of the same family selling guns to each other. That would only work if there was a Federal agent in every home 24/7/365, so that’s just another touchy-feely PR stunt.

The next tactic is making it so expensive to buy or even own a gun that it will cut off the supply.

And there are a lot of people who would accept common sense laws, like banning rate of fire modifications or requiring confinement and longer-term evaluations for certain mentally ill people with probable cause, or making it easier to red flag certain gun owners for repeated brushes with the law so their weapons could be at least temporarily confiscated.

Any of those last suggestions would probably receive little to no opposition from responsible gun owners , and would actually have an effect on homicidal shootings of all types.

It’s human nature to want a quick fix for problems, but raising the purchasing age or banning the sale and possession of certain kinds of firearms is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a brain tumor.

From → op-ed

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