On Sunday February 14, 2021, using the third anniversary of the tragedy in Parkland, to call for Congress to enact the Biden gun control agenda. The narrative put forward by the White House and the media would make you think every person touched by that horrific act, and gun violence writ large, is in on board with Biden’s gun control agenda. This is simply not true. The Biden gun control agenda won’t stop gun violence.
It’s Not About the Gun
Still reeling from the loss of my daughter Alaina, killed on that fateful day, the flood of emotions made even the simplest everyday things difficult. So, we circled the wagons as a family bolstered by close friends, just trying to get though the day—wondering how we would go on with the massive holes in our hearts.
Before we could lift our heads, a veritable flood of gun control advocacy groups and their media enablers had descended on Parkland. Before we laid our daughter to rest, gun control had once again become the story. I had watched other tragedies and the inevitable battle over gun control. Here we go again, I thought. Nothing will change. My biggest fear was allowing Alaina to die in vain. That Alaina’s would be a sacrifice, completely forgotten in the maelstrom of yet another gun control battle.
You see, although she was only fourteen, Alaina had a deep respect and love of country. She surprised us by joining the Marjory Stoneman Douglas JROTC program her freshman year, and becoming the Cadet of the Quarter in her first months in the program. I vowed to do something. For her.
That Alaina’s would be a sacrifice completely forgotten in the maelstrom of yet another gun control battle.
In the days immediately following the tragedy, it became clear. Parkland was preventable. The warning signs were there. The killer made his intentions known. The Broward County School District knew he was a threat. 21 visits to the killer’s home by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, show they knew he was a threat. The community mental health provider (Henderson Behavioral Health) knew he was a threat. But they had all failed to communicate with each other. They failed to share key pieces of the puzzle. Had they done so, a complete view of the threat posed by the killer would have been evident. Had law enforcement acted on this complete view of his threatening behavior and criminal activity, the killer would never have qualified to purchase a firearm.
Biden Gun Control Agenda
Which brings us to the issue of gun control and President Biden’s proposal. You should read it for yourself. Here are the fundamental elements:
- Require background checks on all gun sales
- Ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
- Eliminate immunity for gun manufacturers
Let’s address each in turn.
Background Checks Are Ineffective In Stopping Violence
First, the Parkland killer passed multiple background checks and on February 11, 2017, purchased the semi-automatic rifle that he would use in the school attack. Despite the 21 visits to his home by law enforcement, and evidence of felonious crimes having been committed by the killer, he had no criminal record. Police never arrested the killer or charged him with a crime, despite the frequent & repeated contacts. The killer had “knocked three of his mother’s teeth out” among other attacks against family members, neighbors and even animals. Therefore he was eligible to purchase a firearm under Florida and US law. A background check is worthless, if violent actors have no criminal record because they are never arrested and prosecuted. Regardless, most school attackers obtain legally purchased weapons from the home.
Banning Our Way to Safety
Second, the Biden gun control agenda calls for the banning so called “assault weapons”. As a practical matter, so called “assault weapons” bans and magazine capacity restrictions don’t work. They are impractical ideas that won’t stop school attacks.
Most school attacks, 72 percent, involve the use of handguns. In 2019, the US Secret Service studied 41 school attacks between 2008 and 2017. And speaking of banning our way to safety, almost 40 percent (39%) of the attackers used a weapon other than a gun. These attackers used knives, a hammer, a bo staff and a Molotov Cocktail. So, are we going to ban handguns, knives, hammers?
So called “Assault Weapons”
A 2019 estimate by the National Shooting Sports Federation places the number of semi-automatic sporting rifles in the US at almost 18 million—an estimate that many believe undercounts by half the actual number. Does the President intend to ban new purchases or all existing semi-automatic rifles? Does he really intend to reclassify 18+ million semi-automatic rifles as Class 3 weapons under the NFA and require a $200 tax stamp for ownership? The BATFE is already overwhelmed processing current requests for NFA transfers.
You Say High Capacity, I Say Standard Capacity
As for “high capacity” magazines, which we have assume President Biden means hold over 10 rounds, let me say this. It doesn’t matter if a school attacker has 10, 20, 30, 40 or 60 round magazines if they are allowed to attack defenseless students and staff while responding law enforcement is minutes away.
The Parkland killer met no meaningful resistance for the entire duration of the attack, 6 minutes and 4 seconds. It was 11 minutes before law enforcement entered the building, by then he had long since fled the building and campus. He carried eight 30 & 40 round magazines into the school (shooting a total of 136 rounds), but it wouldn’t have made any difference if he had carried lower capacity magazines that day. He could have simply carried a few more in his backpack. Reducing the magazine capacity would not have prevented or mitigated the carnage. The killer had all the time he wanted.
Lessons From the Last Time We Tried to Ban Our Way to Safety
A 2004 study examining the effects of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban in effect from 1994 to 2004 which included a prohibition on sales of magazines with over ten rounds. While the ban was effective at reducing crimes committed with assault weapons, there was no associated reduction in firearm homicides or the lethality of gun crimes in general. The authors further note, “However, it is not clear how often the ability to fire more than 10 shots without reloading (the current magazine capacity limit) affects the outcomes of gun attacks.” Overall the authors reported that “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury, as we might have expected had the ban reduced crimes with both AWs and LCMs.” 
The Insanity of Limiting Immunity for Gun Manufacturers
Biden’s gun control proposal would make gun makers and sellers civilly liable for misuse of guns they sell. That means people could sue manufacturers whenever a crime, accident, or suicide occurs with a gun. Biden’s goal is clear. Put the gun manufacturers out of business. Interestingly, the President’s proposal uses the term “knowingly”. But how are gun manufacturers to know their product will be used in a crime?
Why Not Make Other Companies Responsible for Their Customers
What would happen if we held car manufacturers responsible under similar laws? Fewer than 1% of guns are used in crimes, suicides or accidents. Crime researcher Dr. John Lott argues, “Many other products, such as motorcycles, have much higher probabilities of causing harm. The death rate per motorcycle is 0.05%; the death rate for guns is 0.008%. The latter includes murder, accidental deaths and suicides.
Many other products, such as motorcycles, have much higher probabilities of causing harm. The death rate per motorcycle is 0.05%; the death rate for guns is 0.008%
4.5 million Americans are injured each year in car accidents, and 40,000 die;. A similar statistic is used by gun control advocates who claim 40,000 are killed with firearms in the US each year, conveniently forgetting to disclose that over half of those deaths are suicides. When auto accidents occur because a driver wasn’t paying attention or was driving recklessly, it makes no sense to sue Ford, Chevy or Toyota. Lott points out, “criminals also frequently use cars when they commit crimes. Why should car companies be liable for that?” Which begs the question, why not hold Apple, Google or Uber liable when their products are used to plan, coordinate or carry out crimes? Shouldn’t they have foreseen the possibility that their products might be used in a crime? You say that’s silly, but are guns really any different? Why?
And none of this speaks to the defensive use of guns each year. According to the FBI and other studies, guns are used in defense of self and others anywhere from 300,000 to 2 million times in the average year. In reality, none of these companies should be held responsible for the criminal use of their products.
Resistance to the Biden Gun Control Agenda
So, I choose to speak against Biden’s gun control agenda because it won’t stop the next Parkland, reduce community violence or crime. Not in my name! For any that choose freedom, as my daughter Alaina would, we have a duty to speak up and speak out against bad policy. We have a responsibility as ambassadors of the 2nd Amendment to preserve for future generations this precious right, codified by our Founders and paid for by the sacrifices of far too many.
How can we make our communities and schools safer, prevent another Parkland, Sandy Hook, or public space attack? Well, beyond removing infringements on our Second Amendment rights, the best preventative solution is Behavioral Threat Assessment. Ironically its how the US Secret Service protects the President. The answer is literally standing in front of him.
1Initial Report, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, January 19, 2019, pp. 234-265
2Koper, Christopher S.; Woods, Daniel J.; Roth, Jeffrey A. (July 2004). “Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003; Report to the National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice”
Ryan Petty - Xlog Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.