In the wake of the Parkland High School shooting, it is necessary to know what went wrong in order to determine the proper remedies. The undeniable fact is that the shooting was the result of a massive failure by multiple government agencies to carry out their responsibilities.
The FBI was warned about Nikolas Cruz more than a month before the shooting, on a “tip line” established for exactly that purpose. The FBI did nothing.
The school system knew that Cruz was aggressive and violent, with a great many incidents of such behavior over many years. However, according to The Washington Post, their procedure for such students was “getting students help, rather than referring them to law enforcement.” That procedure of concealment may have been enough to keep Cruz off the list of people not allowed to buy guns.
The Post also reported that Cruz was investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, which knew he planned to buy a gun. The investigation was closed without action.
The Broward County Sheriff’s department appears to have been too slow to react, and too reluctant to take on the killer.
Any attempt to prevent future shootings must address these failures. Republicans in Congress appear to be united behind a bill that would increase the incentives for state and local governments to report the information needed for effective background checks. People with a documented history of violence can be reasonably denied the right to buy a gun, but it is also essential that innocent, law-abiding people be allowed to enjoy their right to self-defense under the Second Amendment.
The failure at the FBI is another challenge for the new director, Christopher Wray. He already faces the necessity of dealing with three major FBI scandals involving the whitewashing of Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, the failure of the FBI to act on information about Russian bribery in Obama’s Uranium One deal, and misleading the FISA court to get permission for domestic spying on people linked to Donald Trump. The FBI needs to be cleaned up, and if Wray is not up to the job, he will need to be replaced.
Improving school security is an issue that must be addressed. Allowing teachers who have concealed carry permits to defend themselves and their students is a “common sense” solution. Japan already allows its teachers to be armed with weapons sufficient for the sort of attacks their schools have experienced. No teacher would be forced to carry a weapon, but allowing voluntarily armed teachers would provide much-needed security while waiting for the police to arrive.
Unfortunately, Democrats and the media have fallen into their old habit of demanding “solutions” that have nothing to do with what actually happened. Universal background checks would do little except impose a prison term on people who sell extra guns to relatives, friends, and neighbors. The real need is to improve the background check system so that people such as Cruz are properly flagged.
Banning the sale of AR-15’s is the opposite of “common sense”. Many other hunting rifles would be just as effective in the hands of the wrong person. While the gun-grabbers would certainly like to ban all rifles, even they recognize that such a move is not possible.
Raising the age for purchasing a rifle or shotgun to 21 would punish millions of responsible young people for the crime of just one. We put fully automatic weapons in the hands of 18-year olds who enlist in the military, and we trust them to use those weapons properly. If no one is ready to own a gun until age 21, we will have to begin the process of repealing the 26th Amendment since such an irresponsible, untrustworthy group cannot be safely allowed to help elect our leaders. In fact, since automobiles have become a weapon of choice for terrorists (remember Ohio State?), we would logically be forced to consider whether anyone below 21 should be allowed to drive a car.
Finally, the anti-gun crowd must recognize that their over-the-top rhetoric may well push another James Hodgkinson (who shot Rep. Steve Scalise) or Floyd Corkins (who attempted to kill the staff of the Family Research Council and wounded a security guard) over the edge to violence. Columnist Kathleen Parker has branded the NRA as a terrorist organization, while an audience member at the CNN “discussion” called NRA representative Dana Loesch a “murderer”. Other CNN guests referred to the NRA as “child murderers” and political donations by the NRA as “blood money.” There is a #KillTheNRA hashtag.
If such outrageous comments spark another shooting aimed at gun owners or pro-Second Amendment politicians, the blame will fall on those who are fanning the flames, not America’s gun laws.
The only bulwark against an irrational, anti-Second Amendment reaction to Parkland is Congress. We must be able to count on Congress to block the legislation being pushed by Democrats and a few Republicans.
However, it is not enough to stop such legislation over the next few months. Democrats hope to elect a Congress that will move ahead quickly on their liberal agenda in 2019, including gun control. Therefore, we must win the 2018 congressional elections in order to protect our constitutional rights.
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With your help, we can elect a Congress that respects our Constitution, including the Second Amendment. Without it, we’ll be sitting on the sidelines, unable to help.