Headlines suggest America has had enough. Newtown, Connecticut implemented an armed security guard program. After Columbine, Aurora, and the recent shooting at Arapaho High School in Centennial, Colorado has had enough. By July 30, 2013, at least seven states had armed staffers. Three months later, a rural school in Colorado began allowing staff members and teacher to carry concealed handguns. Eight months after that, Missouri began training and arming at least some of their teachers. Utah followed suite, as did Oklahoma, Missouri, and a number of others states.
I originally wrote this article within days of the Sandy Hook shooting as the beginning of a blueprint schools might use to create a safe, sane, and responsible program for vetting and arming teachers while maximizing deterrence and minimizing risk. As a military veteran, I knew full well that all the blitheringly idiotic “Gun Free School Zone Act” did was to advertise the fact that the criminally insane would face far less of a counter threat by attacking people in a school than they would attacking people in in town. Fortunately enough people throughout our general populace held the same conviction, and states have been responding by developing their own vetting and training programs to arm school teachers and staff members.
To date, some of the Armed Teacher programs match what I wrote herein, but others have deviated. Some of those deviations are rather good, while others appear to opportunistic way for certain pseudo-military/law enforcement groups to make a lot of money while providing significantly lower quality training that is available through traditional military and law enforcement venues.
Thus, I am in the process of rewriting this article to incorporate some of the better ideas while highlighting what appear to be some of the worst and potentially dangerous ideas. Throughout, I maintain that not every individual who works in a school could or should be armed, for a variety of reasons.
Thus, I remain firmly convinced that all armed teachers should pass a simple but effective three-step process. First, they should be volunteers. Second, those who do volunteer should be fully vetted by law enforcement, peers, and school officials before acceptance into the program. Third, those who are vetted should excel at the third tier of security involving their proper training and qualification.
I’ve certainly had enough! As a parent, I can attest to the fact that most parents worry about the safety of their children. Yet even two years after I posted the first version of this article, today’s headlines read:
15-Year-Old Killed Trying to Shield Others From Gunfire
That could have been MY son. Or YOUR daughter. Or someone else’s brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew, or grandchild.
The excuse that “these things just happen” does NOT apply to events that are PREVENTABLE. This has ceased to be an issue for the police department to solve. It’s a risk management issue for We the People to solve, and by “risk management,” I am referring to well-established science. Specifically, risk management involves forecasting and evaluating risks together with the identification of procedures to control, avoid, minimize, or eliminate unacceptable risks, and in my mind — and I’m pretty sure in the minds of everyone — the likelihood of our children being blown away while at school is not an acceptable risk!
So, what must we do to effectively manage this risk?
Effective risk management uses a combination of approaches:
Risk Acceptance: Risk acceptance does not reduce any effects however it is still considered a strategy. This strategy is a common option when the cost of other risk management options such as avoidance or limitation may outweigh the cost of the risk itself. An organization that doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on avoiding risks that do not have a high possibility of occurring will use the risk acceptance strategy.
Unfortunately, this is what municipalities do when they tell law enforcement, “we want our kids to be safe” and law enforcement responds with, “we can put a cop in every school, but it will cost more money.” When the municipality balks, they are accepting the risk.
The bad news is that this is almost always the end of the municipality’s approach to managing the risk to our kids! Frankly, I find that abominable. Fortunately, there are three other resources at our disposal:
Risk Avoidance: Risk avoidance is the opposite of risk acceptance. It is the action that avoids any exposure to the risk whatsoever. Risk avoidance is usually the most expensive of all risk mitigation options.
When parents want to avoid risk to their kids in school, they simply pull them out of school and home school the kids, instead. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for many parents. The other option would occur on the side of schools, and that’s to keep all kids out of school!
Both these approaches, however, defeat the purpose of schools, which involves having kids attend school so they can learn.
Risk Mitigation: Risk mitigation is the most common risk management strategy. This strategy limits an organization’s exposure by taking some action. It is a strategy employing a bit of risk acceptance along with a bit of risk avoidance or an average of both.
For example, schools could start using expensive scanning equipment of the kind used at airports. Unfortunately, this approach is prohibitively expensive and not entirely effective.
Another mitigation technique involves forcing only the bad kids out of schools by means of suspension and expulsion.
Employing the services of school resource officers and/or security guards for purposes of both deterrent and intervention is another mitigation technique.
Finally, arming qualified teachers is another way to mitigate the risk by vastly increasing the response rate while lowering the response time. This is a highly effective means of deterring criminal behavior in the first place. After all, the vast majority of mass shootings over the last thirty years have targeted so-called gun-free zones precisely because law-abiding citizens in those areas have been disarmed. But what if they weren’t and the perpetrators knew it? They do the same thing they’re doing now by avoiding areas where people are likely to be armed and go elsewhere or not risk it in the first place.
Risk Transference: Risk transference is the involvement of handing risk off to a willing third party. For example, numerous companies outsource certain operations such as customer service, payroll services, etc. This can be beneficial for a company if a transferred risk is not a core competency of that company. It can also be used so a company can focus more on their core competencies.
Unfortunately, a school cannot transfer the process of educating children to another school better equipped to keep kids safe than they are. The resources to do that simply don’t exist.
So, what are We the People supposed to do when it comes to stopping these mass shootings, particularly in our schools?
First, We the People need to stop expecting law enforcement to be available on every street corner. For one, that’s simply impossible. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, “There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever” (Source). According to the United States Census, however, there are currently (as of this writing), 322,359,989 people in the United States (Source). That’s a whopping 1 law enforcement officer for every 358 Americans, among the highest in the world, yet it’s still not enough.
In case you haven’t figure it out, yet, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, no society can afford to hire a portion of its members to fully protect the rest. The key word, here, is “fully.” There’s some measure of protection with any ratio.
Or is there? Does law enforcement action actually do any active protection? When I Googled, “how law enforcement protects,” I found three entries:
- Qualified Immunity: How it Protects Law Enforcement Officers…
- Obama signs ‘Blue Alert’ law to protect police…
- Just Dial 911? The Myth of Police Protection…
In fact, on the first page of results, I found zero websites that could show how law enforcement officers actually do any protection at all. In fact, one entry, an article by the New York Times, headlined:
Justices Rule Police Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Protect Someone
Well, there you have it. “No duty to protect.” In fact, aside from the very rare occurrence whereby an officer just happens to be on site when a crime begins, the only protection offered by law enforcement is preventative in nature. Either the presence of a beat cop deters criminal activity, or an investigation after the fact may lead to incarcerating a criminal with potential for further mischief.
Second, answer the question: Who protects the American Public?
We the People do, that’s who. Armed citizens stop an estimated 650,000 to 800,000 violent crimes each year, usually without having to fire a shot.
Furthermore, contrary to popular misconception, we are not only considerably safer in doing so than most members of the police department, we are also more effective at permanently stopping the bad guys.
Are “school resource officers” (cops on beat at a school) an effective risk management solution? Well, somewhat. The knowledge that they’re in place is a mild to moderate deterrent. Since they’re on the scene and making friends with the kids, they often become wise to some events in time to deter them. Overall, however, they will never have as much interaction with the kids as do teachers.
As a retired member of the military, one whose duties included securing high value assets such as buildings, territory, and military aircraft, I can attest that regardless of whether your adversary is sane or not, the best deterrent is one which the bad guys believe changes the outcome for the worst, and to such an extent that they change their minds and never attempt bad behavior in the first place.
As reported about the latest school shooting in Colorado: “When an armed school resource officer entered the room, [the armed student] believed he was cornered and turned his gun on himself. The entire attack lasted approximately 80 seconds and was captured by security cameras.”
The problem with armed school resource officers is the same problem with all highly-trained law enforcement: There’s not a cop on every street corner. Most municipalities cannot afford to post an armed school resource officer at a high school all times when the school is open. For middle and grade schools, they’re spread pretty thin, with one SRO handling multiple schools. An SRO is often assigned to each high school, and multiple middle and grade schools. Thus, when he’s at the high school, the middle and grade schools are vulnerable, and vice versa. Hiring an armed security guard instead of paying a cop may save some bucks, but the school as well a local law enforcement looses some control.
Third, greatly increase the effectiveness of deterrence and on-the-spot stopping power by augmenting school resource officers and security guards ten-fold or more.
This is why I fully support an Armed Teachers program as an effective component of risk management, provided certain reservations are addressed. For example, you certainly don’t want to arm every teacher. Many teachers, for example, do not have the inclination, training, or temperament required to successfully confront an armed shooter. Other teachers do not have the appropriate level of maturity and responsibility to be entrusted with the possession of a firearm in the classroom.
Many people think the idea of armed teachers is abhorrent. I find the idea of unprotected school children in these poorly-named “gun-free zones” to be abhorrent. In fact, I think the politicians behind “gun-free zones” should be held responsible, if not criminally liable, for the deaths of the more than 300 school children who have been murdered to date, as their Gun Free School Zone Act has contributed to the targeting of schools by these mass shooters. GFZ’s boast a mortality rate many times greater than areas in which Americans’ right to keep and bear arms is not infringed.
Disarming a populace has never lead to an overall decrease in violent crime. The type of crime shifts (fewer gun murders, more murders by knife, bat, tire iron, etc.), but the overall incident in violent crime always increases. Cases in point: England and Australia. Before disarmament, their violent crime rates were on par with that of the U.S. England’s is now triple that of the U.S. and Australia’s is more than double.
Clearly, that route does not work.
Surprisingly, I do not advocate “arming” teachers. That’s an action verb, implying you’re putting a firearm in the hands of a teacher who may be reluctant to receive it, but may also feel obligated to pony up, yet who may not be either properly trained or ready to handle that responsibility. On the other hand, some teachers are very well-suited for the responsibility. Most people are unaware that some teachers are former law enforcement or military service members. Other suitable teachers include well-trained, honest, law-abiding citizens who possess the right qualities.
I most certainly support allowing at least some teachers to be armed. Lest we forget, however, all six of the last shooting sprees were committed by liberals, and our schools are hotbeds of liberal activity, so we do need to be careful about who we allow to be armed in our schools. 🙂
Many objections have been raised concerning the arming of teachers, including both “freeze-up” and the opposite side of the coin, an unbridled response which kills innocent civilians. Fifty years of FBI statistics clearly indicate that armed citizens are less likely to kill innocent civilians than well-trained law enforcement officers in a given shooting incident. If anything, citizens are overly cautious. I strongly suspect the reason is because most armed citizens are reluctant to fire unless it becomes absolutely necessary, while most law enforcement officers are trained to stop crimes in progress.
In fact, armed citizens are 6.2 times safer than law enforcement officers in terms of stopping shooting sprees! 14.3 average deaths occur when law enforcement stops a shooting spree. Recall the 2012 shooting at the Empire State Building in 2012: New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said all nine bystanders wounded in Friday’s Empire State Building shooting had been hit with police gunfire. Link to CNN article. “…the bystanders were not hit directly by police, but rather the officers’ struck “flowerpots and other objects around, so … their bullets fragmented and, in essence, that’s what caused the wounds.”
Yeah, right. And I’ve got a bridge on some swamp land I can sell you cheap…
Regardless, had they hit their intended targets, there would have been no ricochets. Instead, they missed, either because they were poorly trained, panicked, or both.
Meanwhile, just 2.3 deaths occur on average when a shooting spree is stopped by an armed citizen. That’s not necessarily because law enforcement is less effective than armed civilians. In large part it’s because there are far many more armed civilians (around 5 to 6 million) out there than there are police officers (about 800 thousand). It’s a simple matter of response times: The sooner you can stop the shooter, the more lives will be saved, and seconds count, big time. The police responded to the Holmes shooting in just 90 seconds, yet look how many people he managed to wound or murder. Good on the police for getting there in record time, but it’s clear 90 seconds is far two long. “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.” Had I or any number of my friends who routinely carry been at that theater, we would have put down the shooter in less than 5 seconds. Then again, I’ve trained for over 20 years to do just that.
Even with minimal training, however, the armed citizen is still highly effective. Recall the mother who was trying to escape the armed intruding by hiding in the attic with her children. She fired all six rounds, hitting the perpetrator five times, and stopping his attack. That’s pretty good shooting.
These statistics indicate we’re safer in the hands of armed citizens, simply because we are everywhere. We’re also less likely to shoot without being absolutely certain of our target. We are indeed effective: Well over a million crimes each year are stopped in progress by armed civilians, and roughly 700,000 of those crimes would have involved violence. The deterrent factor alone is well worth implementing an armed teacher program. Disarming everyone clearly doesn’t work: Gun free zones occupy less than 10% of the locations frequented by citizens in the U.S., yet they account for more than 75% of all shooting spree deaths.
Keeping in mind the above statistics, information, and rationale, let’s consider how we might proceed:
1. Allow teachers to volunteer for this position. Just as we have an all-volunteer military, we don’t want to repeat the mistake of forcing firearms into the hands of those whose hearts aren’t into it.
2. Vet the volunteers with recommendations from the principal, a panel, peers, or possibly the school board, or some combination thereof. Additional background screening should be done by the local police department. Establish clear “no-go” criteria that would halt the process for any single individual. Refer to the military’s Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) for guidance. No one individual should have absolute approval authority. Instead, they should have the authority to rank order the volunteers based on the inputs from a variety of sources, and provide recommendations as to why any teacher should or should not be considered for this position. A four-party panel consisting of the school principal, an Armed Teacher liaison in the police department, a representative from the teachers’ union, and a representative from the parent community should
3. Establish a minimum number or percentage of teachers who carry. This will prevent parties resistant to the idea from disqualifying everyone. It might be prudent to have a maximum number or percentage of teachers who carry, as well, simply to keep the quality of volunteers high. Regardless of the school size, I would recommend at least three armed teachers, and a maximum number of teachers to coincide with the number of exits, or 1/2 of 1% of the school population, whichever is greater. In my high school, we had around 2,500 students and approximately 10 exits, hence this “formula.” 🙂 I know for a fact we had at least 12 well-qualified and entirely trustworthy teachers for this role. That would come to approximately 5% of the population of teachers.
4. Priority should be given to teachers with a long history at that school (or within that school system), as well as former members of law enforcement and the military i.e. those who are well-trained in both the use and withholding the use of lethal force. I would recommend at least three years of history. Provided their service records are clear, teachers from law enforcement and military backgrounds have the requisite training to think and act both clearly and decisively while under fire.
5. Once vetted, armed teachers should be trained by the same specialists in the local police depart who train new recruits and/or who conduct recurrent training for sworn officers. They should also be trained alongside the same school resource officer(s) with whom they’ll be working, in both tactics and procedures. The training should include responses to school shootings and other potential and immediate life-threatening events, while also including identification of situations not requiring the immediate intervention of an armed teacher, when a call to an SRO would be the best course of action. Finally, as not all members of law enforcement and the military are ideally suited to react appropriately, this training should double as a screening program.
6. Some additional compensation should be given to those teachers who elect to put themselves in harm’s way. I recommend a stipend of 5% premium above their salary,
7. Armed teachers should be allowed to use their own firearms, provided they meet certain criteria common to self-supplied weapons allowed for law enforcement officers, such as minimum and maximum rounds, calibers, and barrel lengths. I would recommend calibers to include 9mm, 10mm, 40 caliber, and 45 caliber, with heavy precedence, if not insistence, on hallow-point rounds so as to minimize over-penetration. Magazines should not be limited, but they should be at least 7 rounds, commensurate with the M1911’s common configuration. I believe a common sense upper limit to be the common 16-round magazines. Teachers should be required to carry enough spare magazines so as to afford them access to at least 30 rounds. I feel it’s important to ensure both armed teachers and SRO’s have a similar number of rounds as do most police officers, if not most school shooters. Last time I checked, that’s at least 48 rounds, plus one in the chamber, for a total of 49. Personally, I carry 33 as an absolute minimum, and upwards of 55 when I’m traveling into or through higher threat areas.
8. Teachers who volunteer, vetted, and trained should be required to bring their firearms to school each and every day, and should check in with SROs as to whether or not they’re carrying that day. As with law enforcement and pilots, however, some circumstances, including illness, the use of many medications, and levels of personal stress should be automatic excuses for not carrying.
9. Legislation is required to protect these brave civilians, not from all culpability, but at least from acting in a manner commensurate with their training, the same as with law enforcement.
I may add to this later, on advice and recommendations from readers. 🙂
UPDATE: In the last year, 9 states have adopted plans to arm their teachers, and candidates are currently undergoing training. More…
UPDATE 2: Some states are now enacting this or a similar program, even though in so doing they’re directly violating federal law (gun free school zone act of 1990 – ruled un-Constitutional in 1995, resurrected from the dead by Janet Reno in 1996).
Federal exceptions to the GFSZ Act include:
1. Carrying or storing a firearm in one’s car on school grounds by CC permit holders, provided state law allows the exception.
2. Peace officers when their duties require their armed presence on school grounds.
The solution is simple: Deputize teachers. Not before they’re screened, selected, and well-trained, however…
UPDATE 3: Click here to read more about the Okey School System that has armed their staff.
Several decades ago, the United Kingdom caved in to political correctness and passed rights-robbing gun control laws which made it almost completely impossible for the average UK citizen to purchase or keep a firearm of any kind. Did it work? No. In fact, it had the exact opposite effect on crime than what was intended.
At the time, their crime statistics were similar to those here in America. Since establishing strict gun control laws, however, their crime rates have soared well beyond our own, as indicated by NationMaster, a wonderful and easy to use online database which allows you to compare many different statistics between countries.
Don’t make the mistake of comparing raw numbers, however. Remember that the U.S. population numbers some 315,108,000. That’s 4.62 times the 68,181,775-strong U.K. Thus, the U.S. has 11.9 Million total crimes compared to the U.K.’s 6.5 On a per-capita basis, however, The only valid way of comparing data between to countries of different sizes, however, is on a per-capita basis. When stats are low in number, it’s done on a per-100,000 basis.
Thus, while the U.K. has half our crimes, they only have one-fifth our population. On a per-capita basis, their crime rate is 252% higher than here in the U.S.
Since implementing their own gun confiscations a couple of years ago, Australia has seen a shocking 69% increase in violent crime:
Other countries who’ve tried to implement similar feel-good, do-nothing (usually do-worse) programs have experienced the same sharp rises in crime.
There is one country, however, that did something very interesting: The United States. Between 20 and 30 years ago, various states began relaxing their gun control laws, making it easier for honest, law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. As a result, crime throughout America has dropped more than 35%.
So, does gun control work? Only when it’s reduced. Increasing gun control has NEVER worked. That’s the reality of gun control.
A few days ago, following the recent tragedy in yet another of America’s many gun free zones, I examined every shooting spree since the end of WW II. Of the 52 massacres over the last 65 years, ten were rejected because they didn’t fit the typical shooting spree and involved things such as deliberately set fires, bombings, and situations where the public was never in a position to return fire (such as the Kent State Massacre).
The results with respect to the 42 remaining shooting sprees will astound you. More than 75% of them occurred in so-called “Gun Free Zones,” which occupy less than 10% of areas frequented by the average citizen on any given day. Statistically speaking, your average citizen is THREE TIMES more likely to die of a shooting spree in a Gun Free Zone than they are to die of a shooting spree in an area where people are allowed to keep and bear arms.
It’s clear that the whole idea of creating a “Gun Free Zone” does not protect citizens from firearms. Far from it. Establishing such “Gun Free Zones” actually triples the danger to the lives of those who must frequent those zones, whether they be children or mall employees. The following graphic tells story of how the United Kingdom (UK) opened the door wide to violent crime by disarming its citizens. Click on the graphic to see the details in the full-sized version:
Let’s face it: The nutcases who conduct these shooting sprees may be insane, but they’re not stupid. The media itself has clearly revealed the amount of planning that goes into most shooting sprees and the conclusion is inarguable: Most perpetrators specifically target Gun Free Zones, almost certainly because they believe no one will be shooting back at them.
On a similar note, more than 50% of all shooting sprees are stopped, not by cops, but by law-abiding citizens, two-thirds of whom are armed.
Nothing highlights the fallacy of gun control more than “Gun Free Zones.” They’re the epitome of control, yet the most dangerous knee-jerk response by far. Clearly, more control is not the answer. Never in the history of America has gun control ever reduced crime. In fact, time and time again we see the same repeating pattern: When gun control in an area is relaxed, crime drops. When gun control in an area is increased, crime rises.
Jan 1, 2014 Update: Ever since a federal court forced Chicago to process concealed carry applications, crime dropped. In less than six months, it has dropped by more than 30%. That’s MASSIVE.
These are facts, people. I’m asking to you remain cognizant of these facts, and to base your decisions upon the facts, rather than siding with a bunch of hysterical, nonsensical, and ignorant rhetoric lifted from the whiny ramblings of a few emotionally-driven special interest groups.
Siding with FACTS will help keep American citizens safe. Siding with ignorant rhetoric will not. For the sake and safety of ourselves and our loved ones, let us please stick with the facts.
Addendum: The following letter from a man in Australia was supposedly debunked by the liberal rag SNOPES, but was confirmed to be true by a friend of mine who was born and raised in Australia and who lives there to this very day. Like the statistics gleaned from the UK’s disarmament mess, the Australian government has learning the hard way that gun-free zones do not work, and when you try to create one big gun-free zone for your entire country, well, that’s just particularly stupid:
Hi Yanks, I thought you all would like to see the real figures from Down Under. It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.
The first year results are now in:
* Australia-wide, homicides are up 6.2 percent …
* Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent …
* Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not and criminals still possess their guns!
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady
decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly, while the resident is at home.
Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in ‘successfully ridding Australian society of guns …’
You won’t see this on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of the State Assembly disseminating this information.
The Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.
Take note Americans, before it’s too late!
If any of you might be thinking “our time of reckoning is at hand,” you’d be right.
The American People need to come to grips with something, and they’d better get it real quick, before their government takes away something they granted a long time ago.
Owning and carrying (that’s the “keep and bear” part) is NOT a “privilege.” We do NOT have a “Bill of Privileges.” We have a Bill of RIGHTS.
The Second Amendment, number two in the ten Amendments in our Bill of RIGHTS, reads as follows: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the RIGHT of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” (emphasis mine)
In February of 1982, the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the United States Senate, 97th Congress, Second Session, published document 88-618 0, entitled The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Report. Therein, you will find such quotes as:
“In my studies as an attorney and as a United States Senator, I have constantly been amazed by the indifference or even hostility shown the Second Amendment by courts, legislatures, and commentators.”
“James Madison would be startled to hear that his recognition of a right to keep and bear arms, which passed the House by a voice vote without objection and hardly a debate, has since been construed in but a single, and most ambiguous Supreme Court decision.”
“Thomas Jefferson, who kept a veritable armory of pistols, rifles and shotguns at Monticello, and advised his nephew to forsake other sports in favor of hunting, would be astounded to hear supposed civil libertarians claim firearm ownership should be restricted.”
“No fewer than twenty-one decisions by the courts of our states have recognized an individual right to keep and bear arms, and a majority of these have not only recognized the right but invalidated laws or regulations which abridged it. Yet in all too many instances, courts or commentators have sought, for reasons only tangentially related to constitutional history, to construe this right out of existence. They argue that the Second Amendment’s words “right of the people” mean “a right of the state” — apparently overlooking the impact of those same words when used in the First and Fourth Amendments. The “right of the people” to assemble or to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures is not contested as an individual guarantee. Still they ignore consistency and claim that the right to “bear arms” relates only to military uses. This not only violates a consistent constitutional reading of “right of the people” but also ignores that the second amendment protects a right to “keep” arms. These commentators contend instead that the amendment’s preamble regarding the necessity of a “well regulated militia . . . to a free state” means that the right to keep and bear arms applies only to a National Guard. Such a reading fails to note that the Framers used the term “militia” to relate to every citizen capable of bearing arms, and that the Congress has established the present National Guard under its own power to raise armies, expressly stating that it was not doing so under its power to organize and arm the militia.”
“In 2008 and 2010, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions concerning the Second Amendment. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. In dicta, the Court listed many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession as being consistent with the Second Amendment. In McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.” – Wikipedia’s entry on “Second Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Dec 25, 2012.
The problem with the Supreme Court of the United States of America is that they are SO bogged down these days in precedent and legaleze from the many thousands of decisions rendered by them and the lower courts with respect to firearms, that they’re unable to see the forest through the trees. It’s a VERY SIMPLE forest, people, and it looks like this: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” (emphasis mine)
Thus, when the Supreme Court “listed many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession as being consistent with the Second Amendment,” were they infringing on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms?”
Hell yes, they were! Just as were the “many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms.” Put simply, U.S. Supreme Court, Congress, and Mr. President, what in the hell do you think “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” means, anyway? Here’s a clue: “infringe: 1
: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another ”
By definition, ANY “prohibition” or “restriction” is an infringement. Therefore, it logically follows, by definition, that any ruling by the U.S. Supreme court which upholds an “prohibition” or “restriction” is also an infringement.
So, was the Supreme Court’s “Heller ruling which indicated that “traditionally lawful purposes” was restricted to “self-defense within the home” an infringement?
You bet your ass it was.
And was the Supreme Court’s “MacDonald” ruling which limited the powers of local and state governments an infringement?
No, of course not. The reason it wasn’t an infringement is simple: Our Founding Fathers, the ones who both founded this country, creating our Constitution and it’s Bill of Rights, NEVER wanted to EVER AGAIN see American citizens at the mercy of their government. Instead, they wanted American citizens to know, understand, and act upon just one thing: That the United States of America is a country of the people, by the people, and for the people.
This is why I founded RYOC – Run Your Own Country! It’s not our government’s country. It’s OUR country! WE THE PEOPLE are the ultimate authority in this great nation of ours, and it’s up to US to ensure our nation remains on the narrow path, the one upon which our Founding Fathers sent us, the one which lead to the greatest nation on Earth, and the only one which will get us out of this mess we’re in today.
How do we do that? Simple, and it takes just two steps:
First, stop drooling over politicians’ rhetoric. Look at their voting record, instead.
Second, vote ALL those who fail to adhere to our Constitution, the law of our land, out of office. Obama, H. Clinton, Pelosi, Steinfein, and Reed come to mind as the WORST offenders on this point. They just need to go.
That’s it! Continuing education, however, is critical. If you haven’t read our Constitution lately, please do. An initial read should take you no more than ten minutes. You can read it, as well as the other documents upon which our nation was founded, at the Library of Congress’ website, here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html Also, take a look at that Congressional Report. It was written thirty years ago, but it was never more applicable at any time between then and now than it is today.
Good luck, and God Bless!
Yesterday, yet another firearms-related tragedy occurred at the Sandy Hook Element School in Connecticut. It was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre.
As graduate of Virginia Tech, I’d like to say how sad I am for the family, friends, and colleagues of those who were lost or injured. Your grief must be overpowering, and the only words of comfort and hope I can provide is to say, hold on. Don’t try to go this alone. Go ahead and lean on those who love you — that’s why they’re there. Accept whatever help is offered, and seek help whenever you need it.
As a retired military officer, I’d like to add some additional thoughts about how easily this tragedy could have been prevented. Not by ever more strict gun control or by locking down the school and scanning everyone who enters, but by employing the most effective deterrent ever envisioned by any government.
Before you let your mayors, city or county counsel members, governors, Congressmen, or the President react in typical knee-jerk political fashion, please remember this well-known axiom, at least among law-enforcement professionals such as those who maintain the FBI’s Crime Statistics database: GUN CONTROL LAWS DO NOT WORK!
They never have, and they never will, and for one simple reason: Criminals do no obey the law. Because of this, the only effect of gun control laws are to disarm the honest, law-abiding citizens who have proven time and time again throughout human history they’re more than capable of both deterring and stopping crime. Meanwhile, gun control laws do not stop, much less deter either criminals or the criminally insane.
What if a teacher were armed? Why do you think they ramped up the Federal Air Marshal program? How many successful mid-air hijackings have we had since 9/11?
Let’s briefly examine all the major firearms massacres in the United States over the last 50 years, and ask just two questions: Were the victims armed, or NOT ARMED? How many people died?
– The teachers at Sandy Hook: NOT ARMED.
– The students at Virginia Tech: NOT ARMED.
– Giffords and her enterouge: NOT ARMED.
– The vacationers on that Island in Norway: NOT ARMED.
– The shoppers at the mall in Oregon: NOT ARMED.
– The crew and passengers aboard AA Flt 11, UA Flt 175, AA Flt 77, and UA Flt 93: NOT ARMED.
– The students at Texas A&M: NOT ARMED.
– The moviegoers at the theater in Aurora: NOT ARMED.
Two Notable Exceptions include the Fort Hood massacre, where the only person who WAS armed was the one who stopped the massacre, and the Fairchild Air Force Base massacre, where the only person who WAS armed was the one who stopped the massacre.
Do you see the pattern, here? The pattern is that the only way to stop a shooting spree is to take down the shooter. Tackling them is extremely risky, and is very likely to get you killed. Shooting the shooter, on the other hand, is fairly quick, and any competent marksman armed with a decent caliber can stop an unlawful shooter hell-bent on a shooting spree.
Were you aware that of all criminal activity stopped in progress that more than 50% of it is stopped by a private citizen? It’s true. And were you aware that more than 2/3 of those private citizens were armed? It’s sad that less than 5% of Americans are armed! If more of us were armed, we’d have a LOT less crime!
I would also like you to consider what The People are saying in response to articles on this and other shootings. The overwhelmingly vast majority of them are calling for decreases in gun control laws, and for one good reason: So they can defend themselves! I’m sure you’ve heard the addages: I carry a gun because I can’t carry a cop; A firearm on every hip is far less expensive than a cop on every street corner; and When seconds count, cops are just minutes away.
Consider this: There are approximately 1,400 accidental deaths due to firearms here in America each year, despite there being at least as many firearms as there are motor vehicles. Yet we have 35,000 accidental deaths due to motor vehicles. That’s TWENTY-FIVE TIMES GREATER! Yet do we outlaw motor vehicles? Heck no. So, can we be rational about this? Please?
Here’s the kicker: Approximately 168,000 crimes are thwarted each year by ARMED citizens. Put simply, armed citizens STOP crime 857 times more often than the occurrence of accidental deaths due to firearms. Similarly, crimes are stopped by armed, law-abiding citizens 18 times more often than firearms are used in murders (9,369). So, are we to disarm law-abiding citizens and allow those 168,000 crimes to run amok? Really? How in the world does that make any sense whatsoever?
Source: FBI Crime Statistics.
So which political idiots are proposing the elimination of the most highly effective anti-crime tool in the history of the world? Obama? Hickenlooper? Are you seriously trying to tell myself and the rest of the American people that you want to disarm honest, law-abiding citizens when their effectiveness rates of stopping crime is so incredibly high? Do you honestly expect me or any rantional, intelligent, logical person to believe your disarmament model, proven a dismal failure at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Giffords speech, the Norwegian Island, the Oregon mall, Texas A&M, and the Aurora theater, is prudent? That it actually deters or prevent crimes?
If so, you really are an idiot. Disarmament neither deters nor prevents crimes! Disarmament only ENCOURAGES crimes. It leaves honest, law-abiding citizens vulnerable to criminal activity, and unable to defend themselves. It turns what could be your best deterrent or most readily available means of stopping a massacre into nothing more than rich targets of opportunity.
Fifty years of FBI crime statistics have PROVEN there’s a strong correlation between increasing gun control and increasing crime. They also PROVE there’s a strong correlation between relaxing gun control and relaxing crime.
So, folks! PLEASE write your mayors, your city counsel members, your governors, your state legislators, and your Congressmen, and tell them to STOP AND THINK about REALITY before they knee-jerk your town, city, county state, or country into HIGHER crime rates.
Yes – I’m praying for the families of the casualties, as should we all.