Are More Laws The Answer?

(courtesy A.F. Branco at Comically Incorrect.)

With the horrific shooting that occurred at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl., many people are calling for more laws for controls on weapons.

The shooter in this case was a person who had made viable and true threats against those at the school. By law, those threats would have disqualified him from owning a gun and resulted in his weapon being confiscated. The school had also issued a “no trespass” order against him and yet he walked right onto the campus, pulled fire alarms and started shooting. He didn’t care about the laws of the land.

Criminals don’t care about the law.

It’s illegal to carry a weapon onto school grounds in the state of Florida, yet the killer didn’t care about that law either.

So someone needs to explain to us how more laws would make a difference.

The same people that are crying out for more laws are the ones who say that people won’t stop using marijuana even though it’s use is illegal (in more cases.) People cite the failure of Prohibition all the time. It is illegal to drink to excess and drive yet laws don’t stop people from doing just that. In fact, alcohol use kills three times the number of people killed with a gun every year.

Not only will criminals not follow the law, it doesn’t help when law enforcement and other governmental agencies don’t follow through to make sure that suspects are stopped before the shooting starts. That is what happened in Florida. The FBI had credible information on how dangerous this shooter was and did little or nothing.

Banning or making it harder for people to meet force with force is not the answer.

In 2012, Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association famously said “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

That has led to debates on how many times a weapon has been used in self defense and to be honest, no one really knows. While there are some statistics on the actual use (firing) of a weapon in self-defense, there are no statistics on using a weapon in self-defense by simply showing or brandishing the weapon to the criminal. Estimates from the government are that a weapon is used in self-defense at least 800,000 times a year in this country. That doesn’t included the showing / brandishing of a weapon.

Some people will say that allowing teachers and administrators to have guns on school property would create chaos. We disagree.

Aaron Feis was the football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He was also the security guard at the high school. Feis is being remembered as a hero for shielding kids with his body as the gunman fired at them. Feis died in the shooting.

He was also unarmed.

We agree that Feis is a hero, but when you have a security guard that is unable to fight or return fire at a gunman leaving the guard with only his body to save kids, we have to wonder the thinking behind the idea that a security guard should not be armed.

It’s hard for us to escape the logic that people put up signs on their homes announcing to the world that they have an alarm system so thieves and robbers won’t break into their homes and will go elsewhere yet people think that unarmed security people will keep shooters off a school campus.

The blog Legal Insurrection has a post illustrating the point with this image of a sign out of the state of Texas.:

If you are a criminal and want to cause people harm, where are you going to go? To a school where the staff is armed and prepared to defend themselves and the students? Or a school where you can, as the shooter in Florida did, kill 17 people, injure more, then walk to a Subway shop and order a soft drink because no one can stop you?

The other question that needs to be answered is that why are there armed security guards and law enforcement in places like government buildings, courts, etc., but not allowed on school grounds? If armed people in a location is not effective both as a deterrent and a quick response, why is it we protect judges and government workers but leave kids and teachers exposed to violence?

We know that there will be calls for more gun control legislation. For the most past, we cannot think of any additional law that would have stopped the Florida shooter especially since he indicated he had no intentions of following any gun laws and law enforcement failed to enforce the laws on the books.

Ultimately, we are going to have to decide whether we allow kids to be sheep and let the wolves into the herd, or whether we are going to allow sheepdogs to protect them.

We vote for the dogs.

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