Steve Cronquist

Steve Cronquist

School shootings continue to occur. What to do?

What we know: A mass shooting will consume all of the oxygen in news rooms across the country for a week. Liberals will cry for gun control. In the case of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, the FBI will try to explain their failure to respond to warnings. And, most important, all of America will mourn with the families involved.

Every person in America feels the pain of these tragedy. Everyone has gone to school or has sent a child to school. Each person feels like they could have been a part of this. It’s personal.

There is no gun control law, or set of laws, that would have prevented this tragedy. Ban assault rifles? Ban weapons of war? Ban the large clip? First of all, all of those questions are vague. What is an assault riffle or weapon of war? A BB gun can become an assault weapon.

Should all guns be banned? Think of countries that have done that. The first chore of a dictator is to ban all weapons from private ownership. It should be remembered that America's founding fathers protected gun ownership by way of the Second Amendment — and not to guarantee the right to hunt. In 1790, hunting was a given. For many, it was a necessary part of life.

The writers of the U.S. Constitution were very concerned about government becoming tyrannical. It was for that reason the new world was settled. The founders' last hope of protest, if the provisions in the Constitution failed, was for citizens to revolt against their government. The Second Amendment was to secure the ability to wage that revolt.

OK, even the worst assault rifle won’t do much against the U.S. military, but it’s a right people don’t want to give up. Venezuela is waging its second revolution. The first was against Spain. Now people want to take their country back from what Hugo Chavez created. Those people will take any kind of firearm.

Blame the National Rifle Association? The NRA is the most influential special interest group in the United States. Its 5 million dues-paying members represent only a fraction of people who own guns. It’s not NRA money that moves the conversation. It’s passion of the people to keep their right of personal defense.

Background checks are nice to talk about, but they are really ineffective. The most detailed background check would not have picked up Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. Those checks are looking for criminal behavior, not people with social problems. 

The real problem in America is not guns. It’s people. And it’s politics. Banning types of weapons simply changes the subject. People who want to do harm can’t be stopped by taking away their choice of evil. These people are sick. If politicians are truly interested in addressing the big problem, they need to pass legislation to stop these sick people from having access to harm other people in society. And, politics needs to be removed from the debate.

At one time communities had the ability to institutionalize any person who was deemed dangerous to himself or other people. This was not just to take bums off the streets. It was a solution to protect American society from people who did not conform to how other people were supposed to think or act.

Now it’s difficult for families to place loved ones in a mental facility. Government officials are now most concerned with violating people’s rights. Special interest groups, like the ACLU, have emerged to protect and defend people who do not get along in society.

One can take issue with the cause of mass shootings. There are lots of reasons. There are no simple answers. Restricting gun ownership is not a battle against the NRA, it’s a battle against most of America. And, as long as there are politics involved, no real resolution can be reached.

Steve Cronquist has been a local independent insurance agent since 1974. He is state certified to teach continuing education to insurance agents renewing their licenses.