Gun control isn’t the answer

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It’s not tougher gun control, stupid.

No matter how much tougher we make our gun laws we’ll never prevent future tragedies like last week’s murder of those innocents in Newtown, Conn.

We won’t stop future Newtowns if we outlaw every military-style assault weapon in America.

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We won’t stop future Auroras if we outlaw semi-automatic pistols or rifles, or mandate that no magazine clip can ever hold more than 10 rounds.

We won’t stop future Virginia Techs if we make it tougher to buy a gun legally or if we shut down all gun shows on the continent for the rest of time.

Let’s get real. America has an estimated 300 million guns. We could make owning a gun a capital crime today and by tomorrow 100 million guns would be hidden in our closets and buried in our backyards.

Good people, bad people and crazy people would still have access to tens of millions of guns and the ammunition they need. All the strict laws Mayor Bloomberg or Sen. Feinstein can dream up won’t change that.

Some of the strictest gun laws in the country don’t stop the gang-bangers of Chicago from slaughtering each other by the hundreds each year over drug turf.

Connecticut already had tough gun laws. So did Norway, where last year an evil extremist used guns and bombs to randomly kill 77 people — mostly teenagers.

To politicians, banning all semi-automatic weapons or large magazines in guns sounds like a good solution to stop mass murders, but it isn’t.

Those laws might keep the death toll in the single digits, but they won’t stop another killing spree like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary from occurring in the first place.

I want to prevent mass murders from happening in schools, not merely reduce their number of victims. I’m not willing to accept six dead first-graders instead of 20. I’m not willing to accept a single dead teacher or principal or schoolchild.

And the only way to bring the death toll down to zero in our schools is to put trained armed guards in every one of them.

Not a retired policeman or a fat guy in a cheap uniform who sits in a chair all day. A real guard with a real loaded gun that he or she knows how to use and is authorized to shoot.

It could be a local police officer or a private security guard. And taxpayers would be willing to pay the price for knowing their kids were being protected by more than security cameras and locked doors.

Security is never foolproof. When my father was shot in 1981, he was the most protected person in America, surrounded by heavily armed and trained bodyguards.

The disturbed man who tried to kill him didn’t use an assault rifle or a semi-automatic to carry out his plan. Before he was wrestled to the ground, he got off six shots in 1.7 seconds — with a revolver.

I’ll never forget what Mike Luty, the head of the Secret Service detail who was with me the day my father was shot, said to me when I asked, “How can you allow this to happen?” Luty said, “We train 24/7, but we can’t stop the crazies.”

We can’t stop every crazy in America who is intent on committing mass murder, either, but we can try. We need to fix our mental health system so it’s better able to identify potential killers before they kill, and we need to find ways parents can provide help to their kids over 18 without needing a court order.

But no matter what we do, evil people, crazy people and troubled suicidal young white males will always have access to guns and they’ll plan their lethal attacks in secret and carry them out.

More gun control and gun-free zones won’t stop them, but guns will. Putting armed guards — with loaded weapons — in our schools is the only sure way we can keep our future mass murderers from hurting any more of our innocent children.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution”. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation.