When the father of a slain student from the Florida high school where 17 students were murdered rose at a CNN town hall meeting, he confronted Sen. Marco Rubio saying: “What you and our president did today was pathetic,” meaning they had done nothing to stop such shootings at our public schools. A student later asked the senator, “Will you promise not to accept campaign donations from the National Rifle Association?” Of course, he did not.
At the same meeting, an NRA spokeswoman dodged a question from the audience about whether 18-year-olds armed with assault rifles are part of the Second Amendment’s reference to a “well-regulated militia.” Marching towards their state capitol building in Tallahassee, a survivor of the attack, senior Dimitri Hoff said, “NRA, we’re not afraid of you. You won’t silence us, never again.” Since then a number of major American businesses, including banks, hotels and car rental agencies along with Delta and United Airlines, have dropped their affiliation with the gun lobby.
Politicians who haven’t budged from “the thoughts and prayers” stance since the school shooting at Columbine were rattled by the zeal of these high schoolers who maintained that this was not a political but a safety (their lives were at stake) issue, and that buying or possession of military- style AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, like those used at their school and other school’s shootings, should be outlawed.
Last week after Trump met at the White House with students and teachers he said he would consider some minor improvement in gun laws, including arming of teachers, which the sheriff of Broward County, Fla., called a “bad idea.” Just last year, President Trump signed a bill into law rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to buy a gun.
Statistics show that seven of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history have happened since 2007. And in the latest, most serious shootings (at Sandy Hook elementary, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Sutherland Springs, Tex., the shooters used AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.
As a veteran, I was trained to use guns. But why should anyone other than the police or military need to use an AR-15? And how could a teacher, even if well trained, armed with a hand gun, expect to defeat a shooter armed with an AR-15 and multiple magazines? Some like to say, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” but the more correct statement is: “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns do.”