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Letter: Guns aren’t going away — that’s the reality that needs to be dealt with

I am writing to point out a few things to people who either don’t know or don’t understand a lot of the issues around firearms.

There seems to be no common sense in a lot things written in this paper and said and reported in other media since the school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14th. A lot of what’s been said has been said before, after other shootings, but lies told often enough become truth — like an AR15 is an assault rifle; not so. An AR15 is a semi-automatic sporting rifle. They are used by law enforcement, target shooters and used to hunt by multiple thousands of law-abiding owners in the U.S.

Schools should have metal detectors, armed guards and entrenched policies to deal with such incidents, not just hide and hope to not be shot.

An assault rifle is capable of select fire; the ability to switch between full and semi-auto fire — an ability the AR15 does not have. Look it up in a dictionary. AR15s do not possess magical powers and are no more dangerous than any other semi-auto hunting rifle. Also, they are inanimate objects that can do nothing without a human operator. Just like any tool, it can be misused.

As for people stating there are no background checks in the U.S., all states in the U.S. require background checks right now. And this particular shooter passed a background check. Crying for more background checks, when the ones that are in place don’t work makes no sense. Improving the ones in place would be far more effective.

The idea of arming teachers and some school staff was scoffed at by many when, it could be a very effective solution. People wouldn’t be forced to be armed, but if a teacher was trained and willing to carry a firearm to defend the students and themselves, why not? Don’t you think that the coach who died shielding students would have had a better chance if he was armed? Also, gun-free zones should be eliminated. Why do you think mass shootings almost always happen in gun-free zones? If someone is intent on killing they are going to go to an area where they will face less opposition.

Blaming the National Rifle Association (NRA) for these shootings is ridiculous. Sure, they support the Second Amendment. Why would law-abiding gun owners not? The NRA is composed of law-abiding gun owners who teach and preach gun safety. Sure, they donate to politicians. Are they the only organization that donates funds to politics to further their interests? I think not.

Schools should have metal detectors, armed guards and entrenched policies to deal with such incidents, not just hide and hope to not be shot. Instead of blaming the NRA, put the blame where it belongs — failure of the guard present and the first police to arrive to act. Failure of the systems already in place. He never should have passed a background check. Failure of the FBI and others to act on information that could have prevented this shooting.

In closing, I would like to point out the reality of guns in the U.S. There are over 300 million firearms in the United States, and if authorities know where a quarter of them are they would be lucky. So, deal with what is. Guns aren’t going away. No registration or laws will ever stop killing by guns. Look at France, for example — guns are practically banned. That didn’t stop terrorists from getting all the AKs they wanted and carrying out multiple killings.

Calling for guns, of any kind, to go away in the U.S. is about as sensible as riding a motorcycle in the middle of winter in Newfoundland and Labrador, and then when it snows on you, expecting for it to go away just because you don’t think it should snow in the wintertime.

Guns aren’t going away, especially in the U.S., so deal with the reality instead of screaming for something that isn’t going to happen and scapegoating the NRA and law-abiding firearm owners.

Even if someone bent on doing harm can’t access a firearm, they will use something else. And there are innumerable examples of that in the present day and down through history.

Scott Manning
Proud NRA and NFA member

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