Gun control is not the solution to gun violence in America. Here's why | Opinion

·3 min read

After recently perusing the advertisements in my mid 1960s Boy Scout Handbook, I noticed a number of ads for semiautomatic .22 caliber rifles for hunting and shooting fun. These ads illustrate our country’s longstanding and popular tradition of gun ownership and usage.

Like it or not, we are a gun-nut nation. This is exemplified in our laws, our history, our foods, our criminality and our popular culture. First person shooter video games proliferate like rabbits.

We do like our guns, but we also hate and fear them — and with good reason. Guns are serious tools, potentially dangerous and deadly to users as well as others through carelessness.

Guns are double-edged—able to be used for good and bad, hence their association with criminality. For more than a century we have tried to control for the criminal aspects of guns, but with varying levels of success.

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Failed gun control attempts

Control has landed athwart competing interests of custom and culture as well as law.  As with many issues in American history and life, lines are drawn fairly hard and evenly.

Some issues with guns, like school shootings, call for immediate solutions. Yet we dither and have been doing so for decades. One consistent attempt has been to try to ban assault rifles.

Currently in the wake of recent shootings, this has become the go-to solution for many as it has been in the past.

But this is not the solution to this problem.

We tried this before from 1994-2004, and yet saw no end during that time period in mass shootings. Recently many have vilified a particular assault rifle, and wish to ban the AR-15 rifle.

Some, such as the great pundit Whoopi Goldberg or the great gun expert President Biden, have claimed the only purpose for this rifle is just to kill people. But when introduced to the American public in 1963 it was marketed as a great rifle for camping, hunting and collecting, much like the Boy Scout rifles of the 1960s.

Louis Haas
Louis Haas

Newsflash, all guns can be used to kill people. Years ago a student shot up his school using a relative’s target pistol. What if we do ban assault rifles, or just the AR-15 in particular?

Will mass shootings decline? No.

Most mass shootings, upwards of 65%, are committed with pistols. Few are committed with assault rifles. Sadly, since most of these mass shootings are committed at close range, the Boy Scout rifles advertised in the 1960s handbook are just as deadly.

Supposedly, the small .22 caliber bullet has been responsible for more American civilian deaths than any other caliber.

Gun control is not the solution to school shootings.  We cannot magically wave away 400 million guns, some 20 million of which are assault rifles.

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What is the solution then?

Simply, and sadly, we have to recognize the reality of things as they are now and harden the schools; bullet-proof glass at the main entrance and controlled access; metal detectors; and make sure all other doors lock from the inside and are locked always.

More armed personnel, police and some teachers, in the schools. For society as a whole, more people need to carry concealed. Gun control is a false hope.

Louie Haas is a history professor, who target shoots for a hobby. 

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Mass shootings: Why gun control is not the solution to gun violence