A Brief History
On November 5, 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas went on a shooting rampage at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people and wounding another 20 victims in what was the worst mass shooting in the history of the State of Texas. In fact, the incident was the 5th worst mass shooting in United States history. And yet, it could have been worse! A citizen legally armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle intervened and chased off the gunman, stopping the massacre and saving numerous lives. Once again, a “good guy with a gun” was the solution to a “bad guy with a gun,” although anti-gun advocates would have you believe otherwise.
In a bit of timely news, on November 4, 2019, CNN reported that an 8 months pregnant wife saved her husband from armed intruders in their home by using an AR-15 to shoot and kill one of the intruders while chasing off the second intruder. The masked and armed pair (both had pistols) had entered the couple’s Florida home and demanded money, grabbing and threatening the couple’s 11 year old daughter for emphasizing their threats. While one armed robber pistol whipped the husband and the other armed robber kicked the victim, the pregnant wife came out of the bedroom to investigate the racket and was promptly shot at by an intruder! She went back into the bedroom and retrieved an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and fired one shot at the bad guys, striking one and causing both to flee. One intruder died nearby, the other remained at large.
An enormous, indeterminate number of AR-15 type semi-automatic rifles are in the hands of private American gun owners, perhaps as many as 15 million (NBC News, 2017). While the number of AR-15 or other semi-automatic versions of military type rifles and carbines used in self-defense or the defense of innocent people each year is small (numbers are not kept in cases of guns being used for protections but not fired, which is more often than firearms being used and fired), it must be pointed out for the umpteenth time that rifles (and carbines, and all “long” guns) are used in a tiny portion of assaults with firearms each year, something like 2% of shooting incidents. If you believe there is some sort of “epidemic” of shootings with “assault weapons” (real assault weapons are the military full automatic machine gun types, the civilian AR-15 and AK-47 look-alikes are semi-automatic weapons) consider the fact that out of 15 million such weapons in American civilian hands, only a few dozen are used criminally each year. And yet uneducated politicians, pundits and well meaning citizens continue to demand the confiscation and outlawing of “assault weapons,” or more correctly, semi-automatic rifles, when handguns are the weapon of choice for the overwhelming majority of gun crimes. Does it seem to make sense to seize 15 million rifles when only a few per year are used feloniously? Seriously, have the gun control advocates even considered such numbers and the enormity of the ridiculousness involved? More people are stabbed to death and beaten to death with blunt objects than killed by AR-15’s and all other “assault weapons” combined. Do we advocate outlawing and “buying back” baseball bats?
At the risk of being repetitive, a reminder is in order: Around 200 Americans PER DAY die of opioid overdose, while around 200 Americans PER DECADE are killed in mass shootings. Plus, some of those mass shootings are committed using hand guns, not long guns. Some argue that those that die of drug overdose are killing themselves while victims of shootings are unwilling participants. This fact may be partially true, but as pharmaceutical companies have had a hand in the over prescription and distribution of many more opioids than can possibly be given to patients therapeutically the people addicted to opioids may be victims of unscrupulous drug companies and doctors/pharmacies that willingly participate in the lucrative business of overselling such drugs. Plus, try to convince a grieving family that the loss of their loved one to drug overdose is not as bad as someone else being shot. Just try it.
Mass shootings do not happen only in the United States. What about our neighbor, Mexico? We have run several articles about mass shooting incidents that happened in other countries, including some you do not think of as prone to such attacks. Additionally, other countries have suffered the tragedy of other forms of mass attack on school children or innocent people as well, just as the US has been targeted by murderers using bombs many, many times, including the worst American school massacre ever. Edged weapons, bombs and even motor vehicles have been used to attack multiples of people as well, both in the US and in other countries (85 victims killed by a single truck in Nice, France in 2016!). For some reason, our media gives little attention to such incidents that occur outside the US leaving Americans to believe we are uniquely affected by such tragedies. Simply surfing the internet will amaze you by how many mass attacks against schools or groups of people take place across the world. One must remember, the US has around 330 million people, nearly half that of all of Europe combined, so to compare the US to an individual country is somewhat misleading. Yes, some countries have lower murder rates for a wide variety of reasons, but others have far higher murder rates, while many do not reveal any sort of accurate statistics.
As always, we advocate increased access to mental health treatment for any American that needs it, regardless of financial situation, a nationwide reporting system with checks and balances for identifying possible violent persons, and rigorous adherence to the uploading of data into the national data base that either allows a person to buy a gun or identifies him or her as someone not eligible for firearm ownership. Additionally, persons that attempt to buy a gun and fail a background check are routinely NOT prosecuted, even though they have committed a felony by trying to purchase a gun. (A report indicated of 48,000 felons and persons under disability that failed background checks in 2010, a pathetic 44 were prosecuted!) We believe those folks need to be prosecuted on a regular basis. We have an extensive background check system, but we need to hold those responsible for uploading information for correctly doing their jobs and punish those that are remiss in their duties. None of this “oops!” stuff!
Also, as always, we invite readers to offer their opinions or information for us and our other readers to digest, asking only that you keep the conversation civil, regardless of which side you identify yourself as on.
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you believe good citizens with guns can prevent or end mass shootings and other violent crimes? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see..
Halbrook, Stephen. Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State”. Independent Institute, 2014.
Lott, John. More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Stroud, Angela. Good Guys with Guns: The Appeal and Consequences of Concealed Carry. The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
Winkler, Adam. Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.
The featured image in this article, a Facebook post by Mike Pence, is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.