This site is about security, technology, and solutions to our problems related to these issues. Last week was a horrible one for the US, I need to address this as right now nobody is actually talking about ways to stop these acts in the short-term, only long-term policy changes that will have questionable results. This piece is not about the Second Amendment or a position paper on what gun regulations should be enhanced, created or eliminated. If you believe that guns should be outlawed in the US I totally respect your opinion the same as if you think there should be very little regulation regarding their ownership. I am not trying to debate these issues, I just want to provide a way to allow our children to feel safe in their classrooms once again and deny these inhuman monsters the opportunity to prey on our youth for whatever insane reason they may justify doing so by. I want to dispel a few myths as well in the process. This was adapted from a response to a chain of emails from concerned citizens in my community and I pitched this idea live on the radio hours after the Connecticut atrocity:
First off if you are not a gun owner, have not been through the buying process or been to a gun show in the last decade you are most likely totally wrong when it comes to modifying our laws in an attempt to keep firearms out of non-rational actors and criminals. This is not a mark against you, I applaud your choice to go about your life unarmed, but it took me years of being associated with firearm culture, and the laws associated, with it to get a grip on understanding exactly how they work. Reading a NYT editorial or two is not an education on this matter and often times these writers are simply wrong or are actively supporting their views with false claims and facts. In my opinion the mainline media is almost 100% wrong on any gun related reporting and this sickens me. You would think that a talking head of Fox or CNN who knows they will be talking about guns for months after any of these terrible events would sit down one evening and actually learn a bit about what they are talking about? No, this obviously has not happened. Catch terms chronically used inappropriately like “high-powered” and “fully automatic weapon” have only distorted the public’s ability to actually make changes that will save lives pertaining to these very serious issues. Men like Piers Morgan, who I enjoy watching from time to time for their interviewing talents, fall apart journalistically when discussing firearm related issues because they simply will not educate themselves on the realities of the technology and the industry. Instead they are blinded by pure hatred for inanimate objects and are thus totally bias in their reporting so that they can push their agenda. This hurts discourse in this country and it’s a shame. Both gun advocates and the opposition to their very existence should be upset by this polarizing and inaccurate reporting.
Some things I would like to clear up:
People think commercially available assault rifles and battle rifles (AR-15, AK-47, M-14 etc) are fully automatic “machine guns” like you see in the movies. They are not, you pull the trigger once one round comes out, the same as a handgun. To own a fully automatic weapon, where it shoots a string of bullets as long as you hold down the trigger until the magazine is empty, you need to have a Class III permit issued very strictly (including physical inventory checks) by the ATF or if your state allows it, pay a $200 fee for a NFA stamp, receive a thorough background check and wait up to 6 months for approval. Keep in mind that these weapons cost thousands of dollars and have to be manufactured before 1986. The Class III permits, where you can buy and sell “new” fully automatic weapons as well as pre-ban guns are for big money collectors, firearms manufacturers, and often places where you can shoot something “cool” like a “Tommy Gun” at a controlled range. NONE of the high-profile school shootings that have broken our collective heart over the last decade have been prosecuted by a criminal using a fully automatic weapon that I know of. What makes AR-15s and AK-47s different from a repeating hunting rifle is the available magazine capacity choices, some ergonomic features, and usually a menacing black color and shape, that is all. They all go bang ONCE when you pull the trigger just like a handgun.
On firearm and magazine bans like the Brady Bill:
Banning assault weapons actually means that they just cost more money, $1300 instead of $900, hi-capacity mags go from $20 to $90, and super-hi-capacity drums and beta-mags go from $100 to $250. Over a long period of time these items will become more scarce and thus much more expensive, but once again this is nowhere near immediate. There is no such thing as a “turn in your guns” precedent in this country when it comes to semi-automatic weapons, and even though Connecticut was a very bad event, this country is nowhere near as anti-gun as it was in the mid 1990s. I am not saying that these policies will not help, they very well could, especially in the area of decreasing the body count during such shooting via limiting magazine sizes, but this will happen over many years, not months.
Now lets talk about what can be done to actually end or dramatically decrease these tragedies immediately:If you really want these “active shooter” events to stop happening, especially in our schools, you need to immediately begin fielding armed security persons in schools that are proficient in close quarters battle tactics, otherwise known as “CQB.” Luckily, many of our job hungry and highly decorated soldiers who are returning home with incredible combat experience are fully proficient in this demanding mission set. Much like Air Marshals on airplanes, these folks would be constantly trained, tested and evaluated to keep their position. We must come to terms that there is no door system or passive security measure that will stop a suicidal shooter. Only having a top of the line operator on site, or perceived to be on site, with much better training and equipment will stop this from happening PERIOD.So, politics of the possible here people, I would model a school security program similar to the one used on our airliners everyday, let teachers arm themselves if they wish and train to do so under a special program just like pilots do on our airplanes, and put undercover roving “School Marshals” at our schools so a potential shooter has no clue if one is inside or not. I find it odd that we do all this on our airplanes, that already have multiple screening services and layers of security, down to back-scatter machines, but we leave our schools totally unsecured.
One point that nobody seems to talk about is that all these mutants have one thing in common: they do not want to fight another gunmen even though they are already on a “one way trip.” Almost 100% of these assailants have popped themselves before SWAT/SERT entered the facility to neutralize them. Why don’t they go attack police stations, gun shows or army posts? Simple, something about their thought process does not want a fair fight, it’s all about exerting their “power” over innocents, that is their incredibly sick kick apparently. So harden the target (schools and even malls if they will pay for it) with actual security personnel just there to protect innocent life alone from the criminally insane, not to discipline kids or watch for petty school infractions, and these shooters will stop showing up. Once again, this is not my opinion, it is a wildly peculiar commonality among these freaks that validates the rationale. To summarize again, just like on our airplanes, let teachers, like pilots, pack if they choose and train them well to do so, and immediately launch a School Marshal program based on the good components of the Air Marshal program.
Congress can ban anything they want short of an unprecedented gun grab but it will take 10+ years to really have any sort of real impact on the situation as millions of existing hi-capacity magazines already in circulation will have to become too expensive to afford or just wear out before they stop accompanying these shooters on their horrific one way trips. Waiting periods, deeper mandatory background checks, mandated insurance and training, and so on are all ideas to look at, but they would not have stopped the last two incidents in any way, so let’s get something that can, a well paid, well-trained, decorated ex-US Army Ranger or Marine with a personal defense weapon hidden under his sport coat. Sure this is not cheap, but we have spent TRILLIONS “fighting terrorism” in debatable wars overseas and spent billions on building others nation’s armies and security forces yet the worst kind of terrorism is right here at home. Let’s fight it the only way immediately possible and put this dark decade or so of mass school shootings largely behind us. Once we have secured our schools, then lets talk gun control, our culture of violence, our failing public school system and the inability for the deranged and mentally ill among us to get the mental health care they so desperately need…
Thanks for listening, and just like you, my thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones this last week.
I never ask, but if you like what you just read please pass it on to your friends, family and co-workers, we need this solution put in place ASAP.
*For some reason my titles are cached even after they are corrected for spelling or whatever during my read through for mistakes, please excuse the “immediately” error as I cannot fix it retroactively when the post is linked. Calling computer nerd now to figure this out!