How many guns are too many?

David Gregory asked the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre how many “good guys with guns” are enough?

Yes, there is a lot we still do not know about what happened at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yards from the moment shooter Aaron Alexis entered the facility until he died some 30-minutes later. We do know a few things…

We know that the Navy Yards security was informed about Alexis’s mental health condition prior to the shooting but did nothing about it.

We know that Alexis maintained his secret clearance, the lowest form of clearance allowed, after his general discharge from the Navy.

We do know that the gun shop where Alexis purchased a short-barrel shotgun refused to sell him an assault style rifle, but the reasons are still unknown.

We know that the hand gun Alexis had was taken from the security guard on duty and that there were six other armed guards at or near the entrance gate.

This is not a debate by the elite media, it is a debate by the citizens and guests of this great country. How many guns are enough? La Pierre thinks that every man and woman must be armed to “be enough.”

The question should be “how many are too many?”

Yes, there were failures on the part of those who could have stopped Alexis days before the shootings. Yes, we need to somehow connect the mental health system with the federal background checks. Yes, we need to have stronger and better communication among those services that are charged with our protection. But until that happens, do we really need to have more guns in the hands of citizens who may be as mentally unstable as Alexis?

The argument over the Second Amendment rights has, itself, gotten out of hand. We are arguing over definitions and a comma, not the reasons for the Amendment or the historical significance. We are being given false information concerning gun ownership in Europe leading up to World War II, in the communist nations and certain dictatorships by the advocates. Why? Because they are claiming a bigger emotional base than the idea of another 12 people killed by a lone gunman.

In fact, Alexis could have been that lone terrorist who had no run-in with the law prior to walking on to the Navy Yard ground with his shotgun or a bomb. It is near impossible to catch all of the “lone wolves” that may be out there. And they are out there. The problem is we do not know who they are.

Even if the mental health system allowed for access and there was some identifier that indicated that someone has been reported to have a mental illness, the N.R.A. would then argue that we are restricting the ownership of guns to this very group. They have done this in the past and will do it again.

LaPierre is a well-educated man, the very definition of an “elitist.” His methods of argument are superb and he has some valid points about last week’s shootings. Therre are many questions to be asked and answered by the Navy, the security firm, the police and the FBI. But I am still waiting for LaPierre to answer my question; How many guns are too many? 

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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