Gun ban extremists' answer to school shootings is more of the same

By Chad D. Baus

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

A quick Google search reveals the quote has been attributed to the likes of Benjamin Franklin to Albert Einstein, but that no one really knows who actually should be given credit. While discovering the true origins of the quote may be difficult, finding examples of this type if insanity are certainly not.

Only a few hours after 14 year-old Asa Coon is accused of breaking numerous local, state and Federal gun control and other laws, opening fire on classmates and teachers at SuccessTech Academy in Cleveland, Ohio before committing suicide, gun ban extremists began the predictable call for...even more gun control laws. I can't think of a better example of insanity.

Click 'Read More' for the entire commentary.

Toby Hoover, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV), spoke in Akron just hours after the shootings at a forum on reducing gun violence. (The event, held at the Akron-Summit Public Library, had been scheduled far in advance).

An Akron Beacon-Journal news story covering the event reports that Hoover "called for tougher laws to keep weapons out of juveniles' hands".

But there is already NO legal way for an underage person to gain possession of a firearm in Ohio. We have laws prohibiting anyone from giving them a gun, and from selling them a gun. We have laws prohibiting them from buying a gun. And of course we have laws prohibiting them from doing anything illegal with the gun. If there is no legal way for them to buy the gun, and no legal way for a dealer to sell it to them, and no legal way for a grown-up to sell or furnish them the gun, then someone has violated a gun control law by giving it to them. Mere possession by a minor is currently a crime under our complicity statute. Any method they use to gain possession of the gun will violate federal or state law, and they have aided or abetted the act of illegally giving them possession by possessing it. So they are guilty of violating the statute itself under Ohio's complicity law.

Anti-gun Clevleand Mayor Frank Jackson is almost guaranteed to try and use this attack to reinforce his claims that the statewide preemption of local gun control laws is hampering his ability to prosecute gun crimes. As such, it is important to point out that all of this conduct is currently illegal under state law.

It is currently illegal for parents to leave firearms accessible to children. The statute is endangering children, and courts have repeatedly used this to get at parents under state law. And when it comes to Jackson's inevitable assertion that Cleveland's now-preempted misdemeanor safe-storage law could have made a difference at SuccessTech, it should be pointed out that no "one size fits all" storage law is ever appropriate.

So-called safe-storage laws are almost always written to render the gun inoperable and
unusable for defensive purpose - a prime example is the D.C. gun law that
was just stricken down. It is the unauthorized access that should be
illegal, not the method of storage, and unauthorized access is already illegal.

Again, from the Beacon-Journal:

    Did the teen buy the guns illegally from an individual or perhaps at a gun show, [Hoover wondered aloud.

    Were the firearms in an unsecured place in a home, she asked. ''The question for me today is where did he get the guns?''

    Hoover called for tougher laws to keep weapons out of juveniles' hands.

    ''We need to have something that says any purchase or exchange needs to be done through a licensed dealer who will therefore do background checks,'' she said. ''We need to hold every gun owner accountable for their weapons.''

So although she admits to not knowing where Coon obtained the two revolvers reportedly used in the attack, Hoover is already touting specific legislation as an answer to the problem. Could there be any more clear evidence that her agenda has nothing to do with actually trying to prevent these types of attacks, but rather to try and use them to her advantage for the purposes of furthering her gun ban agenda?

Hoover isn't the only gun ban extremist hoping to keep the attention focused on where the student got the gun. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Connie Schultz (wife of anti-gun Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown) echoes Hoover's question in her latest op-ed:

    The question that must be answered: Where did young shooter get the guns?

    Where did he get the guns?

    Where did an angry 14-year-old Cleveland boy with a history of mental illness and suicidal thoughts get his hands on two guns to shoot two teachers and two of his fellow students before sticking a barrel into his own mouth and pulling the trigger?

    That's the question we should be asking, not just this time, but every time a crime is committed with a handgun.

    This is our nation's first fatal school shooting of the academic year, and when I filed this column we didn't yet know how Asa Coon got his illegal guns.

Hoover's and Schultz's attempts to divert attention from the public crisis of having millions of American students spending each day in the softest of targets is going to backfire, because even they are admitting that gun control laws have failed to prevent attackers like Coon from obtaining firearms. Again, from Mrs. Sherrod Brown:

    What we do know, through studies by Harvard University and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is this:

    Five out of six guns recovered in crimes have the taint of an illegal transaction. And more than half of guns used by juveniles and 18- to 24-year-olds come from straw purchasers who buy the guns legally and then [illegally] sell them to criminals and kids.

And from the Beacon-Journal:

    ''Fourteen-year-olds cannot walk into a licensed gun dealer and buy a gun,'' [Hoover] said...

    "Did the teen buy the guns illegally...?"

When considering how to respond to our nation's latest school shooting, legislators should be encouraged not to look past what these gun ban extremists have inadvertantly admitted:

Everything this attacker did is already prohibited by so many laws they are hard to count, and passing yet another feel-good, do-nothing law is NOT going to prevent more people from getting hurt.

Columbine, Paducah, Nickel Mines, Weston, Campbell County, Red Lake, Rocori, Appalachian School of Law, Virginia Tech, Case Western, Jonesboro, Thurston...and now SuccessTech Academy. The gun banners amongst us are bankrupt of ideas for preventing this type of crime Hoover's OCAGV is so devoid of ideas their website actually encourages the unwise practice of placing"no-guns" signs outside one's own home!

Too many lives have been lost due to the same tired, failed methods. Will more people have to die before legislators stop doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Will more people have to die before legislators become willing to try ideas that haven't been tried? For the sake of our children, it’s time to revise the well-intentioned, but disastrous policy of "gun-free" safety zones, and to allow teachers and administrators who have the proper training and who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun the option to do so in their workplace.

Chad D. Baus is the Vice Chairman and Northwest Ohio Chair for Buckeye Firearms Association.

Related Stories:
Cleveland School Shooting Highlights Plight of Unarmed Victims

Associated Press: School security didn’t deter Cleveland shooter

    Despite 26 school security cameras, officials couldn’t say yesterday how an armed, suspended 14-year-old student was able to get into SuccessTech Academy on Wednesday and shoot two students and two teachers before killing himself.

    School officials also were investigating how warning signs from the troubled student, including threats made last week, apparently went unheeded.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland schools record several gun incidents in a week

    Wednesday's shooting spree at SuccessTech Academy was the bloody climax to a week's worth of gun-toting incidents across the Cleveland school district.

    Last year, there were 304 incidents involving possession of dangerous weapons such as guns and knives. Assaults on security guards nearly doubled from the previous year.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Security plan for Cleveland schools

    Cleveland schools CEO Eugene Sanders today will recommend to Mayor Frank Jackson a new security plan that could mean metal detectors at all 111 schools and airport-style X-ray machines to screen student backpacks, book bags and purses at all high schools.

National Review: There’s A Reason They Choose Schools

    What is depressingly similar to the mass murders at Virginia Tech and Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania and too many others was the killer’s choice of venue — that steadfastly gun-free zone, the school campus

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