NICS: Flaws and Solutions

Due in large part to the way in which people are assuming roles as if they are in a movie, my correspondence after shooting events such as Sutherland Springs, Texas tend to be one extreme or the other. On the one hand, I hear from people who say, how does it feel to advocate ownership of firearms and know that what happened could have been prevented if not for people like you. And on the other side of the debate, I hear that we need to keep up the fight because they are going to disarm us all. We need to push back until we have unrestricted access to military grade weapons to be able to outgun the crazy mass shooters.

Both sides of the gun debate are engaging in false dichotomies. The fact that the murderer in Sutherland Springs was stopped by an equally armed good guy proves that the good guy with a gun does, in fact, stop the bad guy with a gun. It proves that armed citizens can be of great community service, especially in times such as we currently live in. There is no blood on the hands of those who believe in private gun ownership, so stop emailing me such BS. An idiot who has no business being free, much less owning guns, who decides to murder people, in no way reflects a society too irresponsible to own guns.

And then there are those who claim that not only can we not allow ourselves to be disarmed (which I agree with), we need fewer restrictions on what we can own. When these people start to harp on not being allowed to own military grade weapons they lose me. I don’t believe there is a Constitutional right to keep and bear ICBM’s. I’m quite alright with preventing private citizens from owning nukes. For the most part, I believe that, if they were fully enforced, our current gun laws would be quite sufficient in preventing many tragedies, while admitting that not all tragedies can be prevented. That is one major fact that is ignored too often – nothing can be done to prevent every possible tragedy. There will always be bad people who do bad things.

Still speaking of Sutherland Springs, had everyone along the way done their part, this loser would never have been able to purchase a gun legally. He fell through some flaw in the NICS system.

So, how would we go about fixing that flaw?

I am actually of a mind that we could fix it with two simple steps. One, scrap the NICS system entirely. And two, if people cannot be trusted to live with all of our Constitutional rights in society, keep them locked up.

If we keep the status quo, which every politician wants to do because that is how they always have an issue with which to push you to vote for them at reelection time, nothing will change. Mass shootings will still happen. Since it is deeply flawed and fails to prevent guns from getting into the hands of mass shooters, the NICS  can be set aside. But if we are going to have no NICS, what do we do to keep guns out of the hands of people who cannot be trusted with them?

Simple, if you really cannot trust them to not kill people, don’t let them walk among us in society. Eliminating gun ownership will never eliminate murder. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the Nation, and they have had over 600 murders this year. I’m going to make a wild assumption that those murders were not committed by people who passed the NICS.

It is similar to what I teach in my self-defense courses. Most people in the world would never even think to hurt you intentionally. Set aside all of the cute ways in which we divide ourselves into little in-groups, the majority of people out there don’t want to hurt anyone. Most people could be handed a fully loaded firearm and have no impulse whatsoever to point and shoot at another human being. Access to firearms is not what sets any of you apart from the Sutherland Springs murderer, or the Las Vegas Murderer, or any other mass murderer. What sets you apart is being a decent human being who respects other human beings regardless of personal political, racial, or religious differences.

It is the bad people we need to address, not the tools. Bad people will find a way to do what they want. Looking at them for what they are will lead to better answers.

A special thanks to those of you who reached out and were checking on me and my Family. It will not be forgotten.

Be nice to each other.


Common Sense Gun Laws

I had a family emergency which resulted in my extended absence from this blog. I have not been ignoring the questions and emails which have come in, I was just not in any shape to do anything. While things have settled, this is a situation that cannot be cured, only endured. Those who know me personally know what happened, those who do not will, I am sure, bear with me as I try to get everything going again.

There was a horrific mass shooting in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas. At the last count I have as of this writing, 26 people were murdered and another 20 were injured. The victims ranged in age from unborn to 77 years old. As might be expected in a small town, nine of the victims were from the same family. As the gunman exited the Church, he was met with fire from one of the citizens of Sutherland Springs, Stephen Wileford. Wileford shot the murderer twice, causing him to drop his rifle. The attacker then tried to escape in his vehicle. Wileford flagged down a passing motorist, Johnnie Langendorff, informed him of what had happened, and the two pursued the killer. The killer ended up as mass shooters do when confronted by opposing force – he shot himself in the head.

Without leaving any time for the families to mourn their dead, politicians and media began calls for gun control and even gun confiscation. The term common sense began to get more use, as happens after these tragedies.

But, under existing gun law, the murderer should not have been allowed to buy the guns at all. Everything that serves to prevent a person from buying a gun, this killer had. Dishonorable discharge from the military, spousal abuse, child abuse, mental health issues, and on and on. No one, from your most blue liberal to the reddest conservative would want someone like this guy to be able to purchase firearms.

Here is a fact that is ignored; the bad guy attacked with an AR-15 style weapon, and was stopped by a good guy with an AR-15 style firearm. Having an AR type weapon put the good guy on equal footing with the bad guy, and bad guys hate that. When confronted by an equal force, the bad guys tend to get very suicidal. This was a case of the bad guy with a gun being stopped by a good guy with a gun, writ large. Proof positive that there are gun owners who do not want to hurt anyone, but will definitely take out the bad guy when and if the time comes.

While politicians wring their hands and say we must do something the simple facts are screaming an answer. If we enforce existing laws, and if we start to look seriously at the mental health factor in these crimes, we can start to make progress. While personal responsibility seems to be an almost quaint idea from a bygone era, we need to be honest enough to admit that the individuals who kill are the ones who should be blamed, and not our society, or the tools which the sickos use.

I am at a point right now where I am having a very hard time pretending that trivialities are important. So please take this as it is, coming from my heart. Be nice to one another, look out for each other, hug those you love, tell them that you love them even if you think they grow tired of hearing it, be there when they need you, live as an example to the world, dampen your angry talk, ignore hateful people, don’t escalate violent talk, be quick to forgive, and if the bad guy shows up to harm the innocents in any way, do what needs to be done. Do the right thing, even when there are easier and safer choices. You will never regret doing the right thing.