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The elephant in the room.

Posted/updated on: March 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm
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Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool, File)

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre that left 17 people dead, almost all of the arguments being advanced by anti-gun advocates are completely wrong. Those arguments are wrong for the simple reason that they spring from premises that are completely false.

Anti-gun advocates start from the premise that if all civilian-owned firearms were to be somehow magically confiscated – an absolutely impossible task – society would become free of violence. Nothing in the blood-soaked pages of human history supports this premise.

Guns – often the tools of violence – aren’t the source of violence. Violent people are the source of violence. If somehow there were no guns, those violent people would resort to knives, baseball bats, tire irons, fertilizer bombs, trucks, cars and Lord knows what else to commit murder.

Guns aren’t the problem. FBI crime statistics make clear that the communities with the highest rates of legal gun ownership have the lowest rates of gun violence. Chicago, on the other hand, with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, leads the Western world in gun violence.

Anti-gun advocates have an almost religious belief in gun-free zones. Yet we too often are reminded that gun-free zones are among the most dangerous places on the planet. It is illegal to walk into a federal building with a firearm. It is illegal to walk into most public schools with a firearm. Yet federal buildings aren’t getting shot up while schools are.

That’s because “gun-free” federal buildings aren’t gun-free at all. They’re brimming with armed guards. But most schools are loudly, proudly and self-righteously gun-free. The message to a deranged individual couldn’t be more clear:

Come here and you will face no meaningful opposition in your quest to commit violence and mayhem.

Murdering crackpots who want to attack government buildings resort to other means. In 1995, Timothy McVeigh understood that he had little chance of doing any serious damage to the federal building in Oklahoma City using a gun. So he created a bomb using a rented truck and readily available agricultural fertilizer.

Do we thus need “truck control” legislation?

No matter how much we would wish it to be so, there is no legislation that will bring about the end of violence. Gun laws or not, existing law regarding opening fire in a school building could not be more clear. Yet Nikolas Cruz walked into Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people anyway. Had there been some law on the books concerning the weapon he used, would such a law have stopped him? No reasonable person can make that case.

There’s an elephant in the room that everyone seems intent on ignoring and he has nothing to do with a lack of proper gun legislation. The elephant in the room is that a generation ago we didn’t have school shootings and now we have them with depressing frequency.

This elephant is a particularly large one. Leave him unattended to for too long and he will eventually crush us.

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