PERKINS: More Gun Laws Ignore America’s Deepest Need
There’s a small club of Americans that no parent wants to join: the tight ring of families who’ve lost children to school shootings. The circumstances might be different, and the cities too, but the pain is always the same — a raw, wrenching feeling that this never had to happen. A hundred dads like Darrell Scott watched what unfolded in Uvalde, Texas with a sickening empathy. It’s been 23 years since his daughter, Rachel, was killed at Columbine — and he’s no closer to understanding why. But since that time, there is one thing he does know: guns aren’t the problem, and banning them isn’t the solution.
During Wednesday’s “Pray Vote Stand” broadcast, Scott thought back to that horrible morning in Littleton, Colorado — a day many Americans remember with frightening clarity. To them, Columbine was the first of a bloody wave that would eventually sweep through Sandy Hook, Blacksburg, and Parkland. Massacres that would snuff out the young lives of elementary students, college kids on the brink of graduation, and hero teachers. Then, as in now, there was an urgent cry from every heartbroken person to people in power: Do something.
The trouble is, everyone wants to do something — but not everyone wants to do something that matters. Democrats, thrilled for the distraction from baby formula shortages, inflation, and the border, have flown into action, ready to pry the legal guns out of every citizens’ hands. It’s the latest move from a president who’s spent the last year and a half wiping his feet on the Constitution. Now, with the growing outcry over Uvalde, President Biden thinks he has the momentum to launch his latest power grab: the Second Amendment.
During his speech Thursday, Biden talked about respecting gun owners and using lawful Americans as the example before launching into his multi-point plan that experts agree would have done nothing to stop the massacre at Robb Elementary. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) listened to the president’s address and agreed (like everyone else who’s studied the issue) that the Left is rushing legislation that would have zero impact on these horrible crimes. But then, as most Americans know, this isn’t about having an impact on violence. It’s about the Democrats having an impact in November. “It’s all about control,” McCarthy said.
The Joe Biden Americans love, the one from 40 years ago who still supported things like the Hyde amendment, legal immigration, and energy independence, agreed in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1985 that criminals can get guns “with or without gun control.” Now, his party wants to outlaw assault rifles, the numbers of rounds a gun can hold, high-capacity magazines, and a number of other stalking horses that are all designed — not to stop tragedies like Uvalde — but to stop honest Americans from protecting themselves.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), at a virtual House hearing that went viral on social media, explained what the Democrats’ true motives are. He held up a 12-round magazine from his Florida home and showed — using his own three guns — that it wouldn’t fit any of them. “This gun was made for a 20-round, 21-round magazine.” The point was: Biden is being dishonest. He says Democrats are coming after “high-capacity magazines,” but the practical effect would be to eliminate most guns. They are exploiting these horrors to accomplish their long running goal: expanding government at the expense of personal freedom.
Rachel’s dad has been down this road before. He’s listened to both sides, and, as he said from the very first testimony he gave before Congress, these laws “ignore our deepest needs.” “We know there are answers to school violence,” Scott said on Wednesday. “We’ve seen it. But the politicians keep going back to the same old issues of gun control, hardening the target police officers and schools. And we need as much emphasis on reaching the heart of our kids, touching the heart of our kids, because the shooters, most of the time are students.”
Congressman Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) couldn’t agree more. Calling members of the House out of recess, when everyone’s upset, and ramming through a package of restrictive measures, is “not a good idea,” he insisted on “Washington Watch.” But unfortunately, he pointed out, the other side has no interest in sitting down and having a thoughtful conversation about the crisis. “They think the only answer is to strip people of their guns, and they want to do it as broadly as they possibly can.”
And what has that accomplished in places like Chicago and Baltimore — cities with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation? Nothing. If anything, it’s made the violence worse. Do I think there are steps we can take to make the nation safer? Absolutely. As a former police office who’s seen these issues up close, I think there’s a pragmatic approach to filling some holes in our system. But remember, 92 percent of violent acts are carried out without a gun. At the end of the day, it’s not the instrument in people’s hands that’s the problem. It’s the condition of the heart.
We are a spiritually sick society that’s embracing violence because we’ve abandoned God. Even after all of these gut-wrenching losses, our country hasn’t come to a point of serious reflection on what’s motivating people to mow down innocent people. Until we sit down and talk about the moral decay that’s really plaguing our culture, nothing Washington is doing will matter.
“People are saying, ‘America is awash in guns,’” Bishop said. “But America’s been awash in guns for its entire history. But we didn’t have what we see today for our entire history. Things have changed. And it would be illogical to think that somehow grabbing guns is going to solve what ails us. It is not.”
And after we control guns, then what? Knives? Trucks? Pressure cookers? The reality is, someone who wants to inflict harm will find a way. Ask the amputees in Boston or the Christmas parade watchers in Milwaukee. If the American people want solutions, it’s time to go to the heart of the matter, which is the heart. Now is the moment for Republicans to stand up and say, “We have the social science. We have the profiles of those who have committed these crimes, and we see what kind of family structure they come from. We see the absence of morality. It’s time to have a conversation about returning to a culture that values God and morality.”
Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air;
You’ve stripped away our heritage
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms
And precious children die;
You seek for answers everywhere
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws
Through legislative creed
And yet you fail to understand
That God is what we need
—Darrell Scott to Congress, May 27, 1999
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.