The Uvalde school shooter was trespassing before he opened fire. But that was it, in terms of law-breaking. Had he stood outside the grounds of Robb Elementary, ostentatiously waving his AR-15, he would have broken no laws. Before he fired his first shot into a 4th grader he was guilty of trespassing, at most.
This is the basic, visceral problem with the good-guy-with-a-gun theory of gun rights. Anyone carrying a gun, even an AR-15, can claim to be a good guy with a gun. Until that good guy starts shooting 4th graders. And even if there are actual good guys with guns nearby, those good guys will not know there is a bad guy with a gun until the bad guy starts shooting. The bad guy gets to shoot first, and innocents are slaughtered.
Under current 2nd Amendment law, this is the price of freedom. I whole-heartedly, and with full throat, reject this price of freedom. I do not give a rat’s rear that I may not be able to distinguish between a fully automatic firearm, or a semi-automatic firearm that requires a trigger pull for each round fired, or a bolt-action rifle.
If the price of freedom requires that innocents die until good guys with guns get their act together, then something is way wrong. And the price of freedom really sucks when the good guys with guns are afraid of the bad guy with a gun because the bad guy with a gun has a really powerful weapon, powerful enough to cow the good guys to do nothing. Even when 4th graders are being shot and killed.
Hardening schools? Arming teachers? These are not serious policy proposals. Schools are schools, not army bases. Enhance criminal penalties for known criminals who use guns? This is already on the books. There is a 10-year federal sentence in place for being a felon in possession of a firearm. I know this from personal experience because I handled many felon in possession cases in my years as a federal criminal defense attorney.
It is an absolute, undeniable fact that active shooters use guns. There may be thousands of reasons why active shooters actively shoot and kill. A psychotic killer can use a knife to kill, but the Las Vegas shooter wasn’t dumping buckets of knives onto the crowd of concert-goers below. That active shooter killed 59 people, and wounded hundreds more. Not with knives, but with guns.
Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but my sense is that 2nd Amendment supporters should want sensible gun safety measures. Universal background checks, licensing and proficiency requirements that make it not easy, but not impossible to obtain a firearm. Raising the age limit to obtain a firearm to 21. Responsible, law-abiding gun owners should support such measures because it gives meaning to the term “responsible, law-abiding gun owners.”
A whole generation of Americans has grown up having to participate in active shooters drills. Drills where school kids have to act as if an active shooter was walking their school’s hallways trying to kill them (another grim manifestation of the price of freedom). This generation of Americans may have an entirely different conception of gun rights; they may think that the right to bear arms equals the right to bear arms for the purpose of killing people. Their policy responses may be far more draconian, to the point of banning the ownership of entire classes of firearms.
Does anyone really think that doing nothing will result in something better? Senator Schmedes? Representative Lord? You are my East Mountain elected representatives, and I am asking you out loud and without reservation. Do you support any legislative measures regarding gun safety laws? Any? If so, what are they? If not, why not?
If you too want answers to these questions, please direct them to Senator Schmedes at 505-986-4935 and email@example.com, and for Representative Lord at 505-986-4453 and Stefani.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darrell M. Allen is a retired employment and criminal defense attorney. He lives with a nice Republican lady north of I-40, where they run two head each of dog and cat.