Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg)
The issue I have received the most email traffic on over the last few weeks has been guns. People are using a tragedy to attempt to move a political agenda. This is the type of politics I don’t like, but it clearly exists. While guns can be an easy target in these situations, as policy makers I think it is our job to get past the emotions and get into the real underlying issues.
When planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center was our reaction to ban planes? Clearly those planes were used as weapons and any plane in the future could as well. Our reaction was to put sky marshals on plane so we would have the ability to stop hijackings and we armed them with guns for that purpose. The new Miss America from New York said “you can’t stop violence with violence”. My question to her would be, what do you stop it with?
In all of these shootings the violence ended when the perpetrator was confronted by a show of force. In the case of the Clackamas Town Center shooting the fact someone with a concealed carry permit showed his weapon stopped the shooting even before the police arrived. A lesson should be learned from this.
If one looks at the profiles of the shooters we have had in school shootings over the last few years one would find the vast majority have been young middle class white males. While we can talk about mental health issues and a number of other risk factors, there clearly is no simple answer. One could make the case, however, that these young men are looking for their moment of fame or notoriety however convoluted that might be. I think one can also assume these are people with at least a moderate level of intelligence. Given this scenario it would make sense they would choose a venue where they had a high level of certainty theirs would be the only guns present? I would think so and I would point out the Clackamas Town Center is also a gun free zone. The issue in our schools should be the safety of our kids and to accomplish this we need to be focused on how we can stop the violence before it begins, and telling these people we are creating environments where they know they will have no opposition is not the answer.
Politicians have a tendency to put more restrictions on law-abiding citizens in attempts to deal with the criminal element. New York State just passed some new gun restrictions that in the end will have a negative impact on lawful citizens, but I would submit will have no impact on their murder rate. I have some statistics from the World Health Organization relative to murder rates. There are 107 countries in the world with a higher murder rate than the United States. What all of these countries have in common is the fact they all have a 100% gun ban.
My answer to Miss America is, you may choose to be non-violent but that will not stop someone from committing a violent act. The only way to deal with this scenario is to have the ability to have a deterrent. The history of the world shows us banning guns is not a solution. In fact in most cases it leads to an escalation of criminal activity and in some cases real oppressive actions.