The Parkland school shooting last week and the 17 deaths that resulted from it are nightmares no child or parent should ever have to experience. People are correct when they say “this must stop” and we need to find a way to make our children safe.
We need to have an adult conversation that’s not centered around making all guns illegal. It’s discouraging to think any sane person would think that outlawing guns would end mass killing. Many people do not know that the worst school massacre in American history--resulting in the deaths of 45 people, including 38 students, and 58 wounded--took place in Michigan back in 1927. In that horrible tragedy, the killer relied on explosives instead of a gun. It’s a reminder that mentally deranged killers will find a way and the tools to do evil.
Outlawing semi-automatic rifles will not work because many mass shooters opt for semi-automatic handguns. banning guns will lead to a “black market” and make them more accessible and easier to get. There are no waiting periods and background checks in the “black market."
Many of our schools are simply too accessible. We can improve safety by designing schools with one way in and one way out with a security checkpoint. Of course, not every school can be rebuilt or remodeled without huge expenses. School alarm systems, which are supposed to warn of threats, often prove dangerous as students are grouped together in hallways making them easy targets or in the schoolyard where a lunatic could drive a truck into the crowd.
Law enforcement needs to get serious about potential threats but they cannot be expected to find every single one. That is simply unrealistic. While often helpful in identifying threats, citizen reporting can be abused. This also applies to allowing family or police to petition judges to temporarily take away the guns of someone deemed a threat to themselves or others. The Baker Act here in Florida has ruined the lives of countless innocent people who were reported improperly. Too often, we do not know how dangerous someone can be until after they commit an evil act.
If we are serious about finding solutions to gun violence, we must seriously examine the connections between mass shooters and the use of pharmaceutical psychotropic drugs. These psychiatric medications are too easily prescribed and often have adverse psychological and behavioral effects.
Seconds count in school shooting situations but it will often take minutes for law enforcement to arrive. No matter how many gun control laws are on the books, the only real way to stop a crazy person with a gun is with sane people with guns. Failing to realize that will only ensure that we will continue to face these kind of tragedies. The faster we can take down a killer, the more lives will be saved. This being the case, the Florida Legislature should end gun free zones which only work to create easy targets. Killers know they will face less resistance in gun free zones.
The Legislature should also make sure every school has armed security or give designated and trained school employees permission to carry concealed weapons. Armed personnel and rapid response will save lives while gun control schemes will only make us more vulnerable to tragic events like what happened in Parkland last week.
John Hallman is with the Liberty First Network