Reasons for reasonable gun restrictions abound. Among them: Nearly 47,000 people in America were killed with guns in 2021, the most recent year for which data are available. The homicide rate that year increased to 6.63 per 100,000 people, a three-decade high.
It is true, to an extent, that people, not guns, kill people, but it is also true that it is difficult to fire a fatal gunshot without a gun. There are means to kill other than guns, but guns add expediency and convenience. Why cook outside over an open fire when there’s a microwave in the kitchen? Guns are to killing what microwaves are to cooking. Why kill or cook slowly when it can be done instantly?
Reasons for few or no gun restrictions also abound. A subtotal of these reasons tops 17 million. That is the number of dollars the nation’s two largest gun lobbies spent on lobbying and political donations in the previous two years.
One of those lobbies, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, helpfully provides additional reasons for few or no gun restrictions. A foundation report estimated the gun industry’s economic impact at $70.5 billion in 2021, up from $63.5 billion in 2020. Total jobs provided by the gun industry over that period increased from 342,330 to 375,819, according to the report.
This leaves gun shills in Congress and statehouses across the country to perform delicate math. How many lives are worth the millions of dollars gun lobbyists infuse into American politics and the billions of dollars gun makers drive into the American economy? The answer, evidently: As many as it takes.
West Virginia lawmakers are among those across the country calculating in the manner preferred by gun manufacturers. Bills this session would allow paramedics, college students, teachers and others in public schools to carry weapons on the job and on campus.
Oblivious to irony, the state’s honorables passed legislation allowing these things in the week preceding and the week succeeding a weekend of mass killings, including two in California that added another 19 names to the statistics. So far this year, at this writing, mass killings have claimed 73 lives in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archives.
Lawmakers’ solution is more guns. Whatever the issue on guns, that is the answer: more, more and more guns. People possess roughly 400 million guns in America, which is populated by 331.9 million men, women and children. Clearly, what the most violent country in the civilized world needs is more guns.
Because mass killers carry guns into schools and on campuses, people in those places need guns to defend themselves. Imagine, for example, if a principal, teacher or custodian at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, had been armed last spring when Salvador Ramos marched in through an unlocked door toting an AR-15, which he used to kill 19 children and two teachers. An armed teacher could have killed Ramos instead.
But is it enough to arm only paramedics and other medical personnel, public school teachers and other staff and college students? Consider Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, where police say a 6-year-old shot a first-grade teacher. Top school officials were warned three times the boy might have a gun and did nothing, according to a lawyer for the wounded teacher.
Obviously, if 6-year-olds are to be protected from gun-wielding 6-year-olds, there is but one answer: more guns. Had the other 6-year-olds in that classroom been armed, they could have taken out the shooter before he fired at the teacher. It’s time to arm the kids.
Neither West Virginia’s proposed or actual laws nor any other state’s go far enough.
Forget arming only pilots in the cockpits of commercial airliners. Let the passengers carry. If a terrorist wants to go 9/11, the passengers can go “Dirty Harry.”
Of course, terrorists then could be armed, too. So? More guns mean passengers could outgun terrorists. This also could mean more plane crashes, but never mind.
Gun laws typically only allow people to carry if they choose. The laws should require everyone to carry. How can we rely on more guns as an answer if some people still don’t have them? If a 6-year-old boy wants to be a man, he must learn young to defend himself and those around him.
This logic should be more widely applied. What’s needed in an avalanche is more rocks. The way to extinguish fires is more fire. Firefighters should not use water. They should use gasoline. It isn’t fires that need water. It’s floods. Dams and levees don’t need built. They need torn down.
Of course, this is not the logic of gun manufacturers. To suggest this would be silly, and the only time we need silliness is when we’re trying to get rid of it. The logic of gun manufacturers is that more guns mean more money. The logic of the wooden-headed politicians whose strings gun manufacturers pull is that more money means more wins on Election Day.
They don’t count corpses. They count dollars, and they count votes. So long as gun makers keep providing the former and you keep providing the latter, the blood in America’s streets will keep running. And, of course, if we think there’s too much blood in the streets, we all know the answer: more blood.
Lee Wolverton is the vice president of news and executive editor of HD Media. He can be reached at 304-348-4802 or lwolverton@hdmediallc