Gun control not a "resource" to stop mass shootings

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

If the idea of being involved in a mass shooting, even if that involvement is just knowing one of the victims, is a personal nightmare of yours, you’re probably right to be concerned. They’re awful and the pain of having someone taken from your life like that hurts beyond words.

Believe me, I know.

In North Carolina, a sheriff decided to stop playing around and decided school resource officers will have AR-15s to use to protect students and staff.

To say some don’t like that is an understatement.

In the Charlotte Observer, one columnist put his opposition into words.

Madison County, one county over from where I live in Asheville, garnered national headlines recently with an announcement that every school in the N.C. county will be outfitted with AR-15s this school year.

This initiative embodies how many on the right today bend over backward to suggest anything but gun control as the salve for gun violence.

Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood wrote on Facebook, “to exhaust every resource we’ve got to ensure that our kids are safe, that when they go to school, they can learn…and they can go the playground and play, and not worry about some thug who’s going to come out onto the playground and open up on them with some type of AR-15, shotgun, pistol, whatever.”

Only Harwood didn’t exhaust every resource. If he’d done that, he would’ve been advocating for meaningful gun control — a shooter can’t open fire with an AR-15 if they can’t purchase one.

Well, that last paragraph is possibly one of the dumbest ever written in the English language.

First, understand that there are an estimated 20 million or more AR-15s currently in circulation. Does the author think that a new law will magically make them unobtainable for the average citizen? I’m sorry, that ship has long since set sail.

Further, it’s not like the AR-15 is the only weapon used to commit a mass shooting. In fact, handguns are far more commonly used for such horrific acts.

Yet an AR-15 would allow deputies to engage handgun-armed would-be mass shooters at greater range, meaning they could save lives that much sooner without having to close to handgun range. Or, if such a killer has a rifle of some type, he can at least meet them on equal ground.

Moving on…

Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban in 1994, outlawing AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles. As reported by NPR, mass shootings were down in the decade that followed, compared to the decade before (1984-1994) and the one after (2004-2014). Assault weapon bans work.

Except the study referenced used an odd definition of “mass shooting;” one that also happened to reduce tilt the findings more in the favor of the desired outcome. That NPR didn’t critically look at that study isn’t overly surprising.

But the author is starting to approach his point:

Harwood represents a bigger problem: the refusal of law enforcement in North Carolina to lead the gun control conversation.

There we go.

The problem is that Harwood and other North Carolina law enforcement officials aren’t pushing his preferred politics. Yet there are valid reasons for this.

For one, Harwood is an elected official, which means his politics are more likely to reflect the beliefs of his constituents. He’s not going to push a “gun control conversation” in a pro-gun county unless he’s looking to retire without having to announce it.

Second, it wasn’t that long ago when people like the author were screaming about defunding the police, and now they’re upset that the cops don’t seem to be on their side?

The truth of the matter is that a lot of law enforcement see what happens when good people are disarmed. They can’t stop criminals from getting guns, regardless of the laws on the books. They’ve seen how those laws completely fail every time they arrest a known felon and find a firearm on them.

So, they often come to recognize that gun control isn’t going to do the trick.

They fail to push the author’s agenda simply because they know it to be a complete failure of an idea.

Putting AR-15 in the hands of school resource officers isn’t just a good idea, it’s the only sane one.