Thursday, February 11 , 2016, 7:36 pm | Fair 59º

Henry Schulte: Gun Control Is a Reaction, Not an Answer to Prevent Another Newtown

By Henry Schulte |

As always, we’re a nation of reaction instead of being proactive. And, regrettably, as a nation it seems all of our decisions are politically motivated. Such is the case in response to the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn. There’s no point in attempting to discuss or second-guess what could have been. Rather how do we move forward to prevent another such act from happening again? The sad truth is, I’m not sure if we can. I was once told that locks were for honest people, and so are guns. Crime and evil exist with no rules.

We attempted to prohibit alcohol and we know the results of that. We have been fighting a war against drugs and we know the results of that, as well; despite all the laws we can buy any kind of drug anywhere at any time and we’ve made criminals millionaires.

Historically it’s been proven that any attempt to stop Americans from having something if they really want it has never worked, and the outcry to ban guns will end up with the same results. Criminals will get guns. They may cost more but the end result will be the creation of more criminal millionaires from black marketing weapons. Our own government was unable to prevent and control the sale of guns to Mexico, so they certainly have no credibility to control sales.

The howl to ban certain guns has some legitimacy but it’s also politically motivated to go after the National Rifle Association, and using tragedies as leverage can be very effective. I’ve long been someone who’s enjoyed guns. And like millions of others who share the hobby, I have never, ever had a glimmer of a thought to shoot someone. A normal mind isn’t wired that way. In all of these horrific instances, the killers were quite literally nut cases. Maybe Adam Lanz couldn’t have done what he did if his mother didn’t own guns. We’ll never know. There’s no question that their availability made it too easy for him, and perhaps that’s where we can begin to be more proactive.

With record gun sales occurring right now there is no way to effectively ban sales six months or a year from now and think the problem is solved. And you can try and stop the sale of ammunition but it’s not difficult to make your own and/or stockpile a large amount of bullets from various sources. The political war is against the NRA and American freedom. And it’s misguided.

If the federal government wants to take control of another facet of American lives then perhaps what needs to be done is provide all gun owners with a gun safe and another law that says you’re required to keep them locked up. Thereby create another expensive agency to make sure the safes are used and, if not, then you’re going to jail where there isn’t room to house you so you’re released with a slap and told to behave.

Or the government sends out the military to collect all the weapons, which would launch a civil war and kill more people in the process than we’re trying to save. Or you can change the Constitution and then confiscate all weapons, except you don’t know where they are and the government doesn’t have the money or the ability to actually pull off any kind of program with any efficiency or success and would fail before it started but you can bet would cost a fortune. My point is you can come up with all kinds of stuff that may or may not make sense.

And as horrible as the Sandy Hook shooting was, do you ever hear outrage about the hundreds of murders going on in Chicago, Oakland and other cities across America? People who barely have enough money to live can still manage to afford to buy those weapons and ammunition and have inner-city fighting killing each other every day. Where is the political outcry about this endless war last year, last month, last week?

The truth is it’s impossible in our society to completely ban guns and we’re literally barking up the wrong tree. And we need to profile regardless of what the American Civil Liberties Union argues. A lot of our problems are because of the ACLU, not the guns. We may rush to judgment on some people, but that’s a small price to pay to prevent another Newtown disaster and it’s better to be safe than sorry. We need to step out of the PC box and do what’s right and use common sense. If teachers and, maybe even children were educated about guns, about mental health and really trained (which has happened and will happen more) in what to do should a gunman enter their school or all public places, we’d be proactive and prepared.

It would also put pressure on a possible shooter knowing he or she may very well be under scrutiny and that it won’t be that easy anymore. And, if school staff went through gun training, were licensed and had access to weapons with the knowledge and skills on how to properly use them, the principal of Sandy Hook might have had a fighting chance to kill or maybe wound Lanza or, if nothing else, chased him off. We have no way of knowing what could have happened but it certainly might have been a different outcome, and perhaps the principal would still be alive and even one child or teacher might have been saved. To have fear of something is usually because we don’t understand it. When it comes to guns, our society has so stigmatized them that many people have simply closed their minds. Education is the best way to diminish fear.

Guns don’t think; they’re an inanimate object that requires a human to pull the trigger. Cars kill more people than guns and they, too, require a human behind the wheel to do that. If someone wants to do harm. they’ll figure out a way. We need to be ready to stop evil and, sadly, the only way may be to coin another cliché and that is to fight fire with fire.

As a compromise, although I’m a staunch gun advocate, I do think tighter controls or an outright ban on automatic rifles would be worth trying. But, we did try it once before and not a thing changed.

— Henry Schulte of Santa Barbara owns and operates Dos Pueblos Ranch. He has been politically active in the community for years. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

» on 12.23.12 @ 12:03 PM

One thing I appreciate about your article, Henry, is that you are at least willing to consider the idea that our gun controls are in some ways inadequate and not entirely sensible. There is no rational need for a non-military combatant to own a gun with a magazine or clip holding more than 10 bullets. Maybe it’s a thrill to shoot it at the range, but gun enthusiasts will just have to find another way to have fun.
In my opinion we also have to outlaw all gun shows and crack down as much as possible on private sales. It may be an inconvenience for some, but a responsible gun owner shouldn’t have a problem with going through proper channels. It is not an infringement of Second Amendment rights.
Unfortunately as a society we have shown that too many of us abuse the privilege.

» on 12.23.12 @ 12:46 PM

Thank you, Mr. Schulte for a little common sense. This has been a breath of fresh air in the midst of otherwise emotional spewing from ignorant mouths.

» on 12.23.12 @ 01:25 PM

Thank you Mr. Schulte.  Please send a copy of this column to Senator Feinstein, who seems to believe that legislating against specific gun models by name and number will somehow solve the problem.  The woman is not very smart.

» on 12.23.12 @ 02:54 PM

This is insulting nonsense.  Is the country really supposed to endure the threat of mayhem in our schools and streets so that a few can own assault weapons for recreational use?

Is it really a solution to pay for armed guards in our schools when we can’t any longer afford to pay for enough teachers, nurses, counselors, and librarians?  Are we thereby to teach our children to fear that their school day may contain dangerous threats to their safety?

» on 12.23.12 @ 02:59 PM

Noleta, you seem to purposefully miss the entire point of Schulte’s article, which is controls don’t matter and education, preparedness and vigilance do. I wonder what in the world happened to you and all the other gun control nuts that made you so suicidal in nature.

As Henry pointed out, you will never get rid of guns (of any kind or the hardware that goes with them), except from all law abiding sane people. All gun control laws do is ensure that criminals and the criminally insane have them and you are defenseless.

Why you cannot see that, why that is so hard for you to comprehend is unfathomable to me. It seems to be a rather suicidal affliction that I mostly see in liberals and those on the left. However, I do know many leftists that are ardent gun advocates, some are my friends and we enjoy going to the range for target practice. We are safety fanatics because we understand that the tool we have in our hand is deadly.

I suggest you do as Henry did and get an education. Get to know these tools. They have no brain, hands or feet and require yours to function, so becoming familiar with them will help you not only understand why they are important but what a great responsibility having them is.

They are out there, like cold weather. You can choose to ignore their presents particularly in the hands of deranged people and like that cold weather freeze to death or you can prepare your self, become knowledgeable, strong and vigilant. The answer is not in abdicating your personal freedom to the state but rather taking responsibility for it.

» on 12.23.12 @ 03:50 PM

Since when do liberals care about the cost of public employees? We have armed government guards all over our airports and train stations, why should schools be any different?

Schools already contain dangerous threats to students’ safety, including drugs and weapons. But look at the outcry that happens in Santa Barbara when the school district introduces drug-sniffing dogs. In THAT case, safety concerns get tossed right out the window. Then, suddenly, our Constitutional Rights are being violated! Why is one of those Rights any less important than the others?

Schulte’s right. It’s not a generalization to say that gun owners don’t harbor thoughts of killing people. They don’t. Criminals do. Sick individuals do. Are we to believe that even if we could eliminate 100 percent of all guns in the world, killing would stop? I call B.S. on that. Before guns were invented, there was mass murder. From al-Qaeda to Bernadine Dohrn, on any given Sunday there are thousands of criminal and sick individuals ready to plant bombs instead.

» on 12.23.12 @ 04:08 PM

I have read where an Automatic Gun was not used. Is that true?

» on 12.23.12 @ 05:16 PM

I believe the conversation should be centered on mental illness and what to do about it.  It’s a giant question.

Instead, everybody is arguing about guns.

» on 12.23.12 @ 05:23 PM

Henry, regardless of what you profess… one needs assault weapons, and guards at every school is not a solution.

Go back to your Faux Noise and shut up

» on 12.23.12 @ 05:57 PM

“American Freedom” and the NRA on the same side of the equation? Must be the “new” math or some esoteric theoretical imaginary numbers game. Following are a handful of NRA positions on the issues, from Think Progress writer Zack Beauchamp.

The NRA:

  1. Wanted people on the terrorist watch list to be legally able to acquire guns. Inasmuch as it makes sense to have a secret “terrorism watch list,” one would think a primary reason would be to prevent people who might commit terrorism from accessing the weapons that one uses to do so. Yet people on the watch list are still allowed to by guns: in 2010 alone, at least 247 people suspected of involvement with terrorism bought guns legally. While 71 percent of NRA members support closing the so-called “terror gap,” the NRA claims efforts to close the loophole are plots by “politicians who hate the Second Amendment.”

  2. Opposed required background checks on every gun sale. Forty percent of all gun sales legally take place without background checks on the purchaser, because federal law doesn’t require them for so-called “private” gun sales at places like gun shows. Eighty percent of gun crimes involve guns purchased in this fashion. NRA members recognize how dangerous this law is; 69 percent of them support a “proposal requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns.” Yet the NRA opposes any effort to close this loophole, calling it “a stepping stone for gun control advocates seeking to ban all private sales, even among family and friends.”

  3. Lobbied to allow warlords to get arms on the international market. The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty is a small step towards the regulation of the massive international weapons trade, aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of murderous insurgents and terrorists. It contains zero restrictions on domestic gun markets. Yet the NRA has vigorously opposed the ATT, calling it an “attack on our Second Amendment freedoms” by “global gun grabbers.”

  4. Wanted to prevent the public from accessing information about where guns come from. Though there’s a federal database that traces sales of guns used in crimes, you’ll never know what’s in there. That’s because NRA has helped muscle through the so-called “Tiahrt Amendments” (named after sponsor, former Rep. Todd Tiahrt [R-KS]) to the federal gun code, which prevent the public, journalists, academic researchers, some police officers, and people suing the gun industry from accessing crucially valuable data. The Tiahrt Amendments were passed over the objection of federal and local law enforcement.

  5. Pushed to keep guns in bars. Guns and drunk people don’t mix well. Yet when the Tennessee legislature was considering banning guns in establishments that make most of their money from booze, an NRA lobbyist was given a rare opportunity to address the state GOP caucus opposing the bill. It died.

  6) Supported forcing all business owners to allow guns on their property. Many business owners are understandably nervous about permitting people to bring loaded guns to work. Yet the NRA has pushed legislation in a number of states that would force businesses to allow employees to bring guns to work provided they leave them in their cars.

John Douglas

» on 12.23.12 @ 07:18 PM

Horsefeathers, Henry.

If the folks who shot up Congresswoman Gifford’s sidewalk City Hall, or a Colorado
movie theatre, or a Newtown elementary school, or Columbine High, or Virginia
Tech, or President Reagan and James Brady, or too many other places to even recount had come to your house or your ranch, you might have different thoughts.

Imagine if those mentally ill villains had been armed with baseballs, or flower pots, or knit sweaters, or hunting knives, instead of semi-automatic weapons, and clad in Kevlar?

Would we be mourning for all these little children, their teachers, their principal
right now?

Why does America have more gun deaths each year than the next twenty most
advanced economies in the world, combined?

Why has there not been a single year in the last fifty when our civilian death rate
from legal firearms didn’t exceed our casualty rates from our foreign wars, including Viet-Nam and Iraq?

Did our Founders idea of a “well regulated militia” really suggest that they, in an
era of single-shot flintlocks, wanted semi-automatic weapons to proliferate for
those who have never had militia training, let alone served their state or nation?

Wayne La Pierre may say “guns don’t kill people”.

But Henry, they do.

By the thousands, each year.

Adults, children, the sane, the insane, the troubled, the angry, the innocent
bystanders, pro football players, kids walking to school in bad neighborhoods.

Where will it stop? When will it stop?

President Reagan liked to quote an only religious maxim:

If not us, who? If not now, when?

How many more children must die before we value our families and neighbors
as much as Wayne La Pierre values his guns?

» on 12.23.12 @ 07:57 PM

Dear Zack:

You fail to acknowlege that personal responsibity is the cheapest price we have to pay for our freedom. You can not legislate morality. Doing so will only permit those who do not have any morals to take advantage of those who do have.

Call us whatever you want but the fact will remain imbedded in my Pscye that Bad will always exist and Good lies in the eyes of the beholder. Many of those who do bad do so thinking they are doing good. Which leads me to another platitude ” Too much good can be bad and sometimes a little bad can bring about better result”.

The conservative will never change the mind of the Progressive nor will the Progressive change the mind of the conservative.

Hopefully time will judge us all fairly;
and neither one nor the other choose to settle it with guns.

» on 12.24.12 @ 02:59 AM


You are correct the gunman did not have an assault weapon. He used a semi-automatic, which is what 99% of the guns in America are. Real assault weapons have been banned since the 1930’s.

We had a law in the 1990’s that attempted to arbitrarily ban some semi-automatic weapons, but it proved to be largely ineffectual. Most people, who urge the banning of assault weapons, have no idea what they’re talking about.

» on 12.24.12 @ 11:30 AM

Lou, You are correct that the so-called “assault weapons” that the media and politicians are demonizing are identified by mainly cosmetic characteristics - black color, pistol grip, flash hider, copies the looks of a military gun. The only functional characteristic discussed seems to be bullet capacity of the magazine. Because some of these guns “look like” a military weapon, they have been able to convince people, that don’t know the difference, that these are automatic firing military assault rifles.

» on 12.24.12 @ 01:44 PM

I’ll take a wild leap here and guess that most anti-gun nuts have never held a gun, have no clue how it works, cannot differentiate between automatic, semiautomatic, bolt action, single action, double action, pistol, revolver, etc.

The guns used in the massacre were all SEMIautomatic, requiring one trigger pull per bullet fired, and legally available in just about every state. 

The solution is not necessarily in making new laws, although certain states could use tightening up.  The solution is in enforcing laws and providing better mental health care.

California has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation.  It has 20% of the nation’s population.  And 68% of the gun crimes.  National research quoted recently in the media indicate that the vast majority of gun crimes are among certain racial groups, one of which accounts for nearly half the population in California.  Hmmm.  Florida, on the other hand, has seen a significant long term decrease in gun crimes since passing “right to carry” laws over 10 years ago.  Verifiable facts, all.  Something to think about when the knees stop jerking.

» on 12.24.12 @ 08:03 PM

Knee jerk indeed. Lots of ‘liberals’ know that difference.

It’s less costly to have sensible gun controls, and there are plenty of ‘conservative’ arguments in favor of sanity.

The risk/chance, when there is a firearm in a home, is far higher for a loved one to be killed or injured than for a criminal.

How the NRA bought and sold Congress is another question.

It takes far less paperwork and scrutiny to buy a gun than is required to obtain a license to cut hair.

» on 12.26.12 @ 05:23 PM

Suppose the nut in illegal possession of firearms in Webster, New York had been
brandishing a trombone, or a saw, or a Frisbee, or a surfboard?

Would we still be talking about dead volunteer firemen, and seven families losing their homes to an arson ambush on Christmas Eve?

Mr. Schulte, when does this gun madness stop? How many more innocents must
we watch, shot to pieces, on national, state, local tv every night?

Mr. Schulte, the national news reported, on Christmas Day no less, that after the
Newtown and Webster massacres, gun dealers reported selling two months worth
of semi-automatic assault rifles and “extra large” ammo clips in just four days.

Mr. Schulte, the Soviet’s “evil Empire” fell twenty years ago.

Are average Americans at greater risk from the foreign remnants of al Qaeda, or
from tens of thousands of barely rational neighbors, armed to the teeth, often
with better equipment than local or state law enforcement?

How many at-risk youth could we send to recreation, arts, education programs at the crossroads of their lives for even 1/3 the money the Arms industry rakes

How many working poor could we help to afford some level of health insurance,
or some level of job re-training?

Where does it end, Mr. Schulte?

» on 12.26.12 @ 07:50 PM

Publius, The logic of your argument totally breaks down when you use such absurd comparisons as “a trombone,  or a saw, or a Frisbee, or a surfboard” as potential weapons that a deranged killer might have chosen had he no access to a gun.

If you want to compare and contrast other possible weapons, why not hidden gasoline bombs, molotov cocktails, dynamite, a fertilizer bomb in a pick up truck, drove his vehicle into the firemen, etc. These are other potential weapons not the household items you cite.

You ask, “Would we still be talking about dead volunteer firemen, and seven families losing their homes to an arson ambush on Christmas Eve?” And the answer, if those other potential items had been used in lieu of a gun, is “yes.”

In your mind, the issue is “gun madness.” In a more logical mind, the issue might be “mental illness.”

And you are concerned that after the Newtown and Webster massacres, gun dealers reported selling two months worth of semi-automatic assault rifles and “extra large” ammo clips in just four days. Perhaps the reason for that is that law-abiding people are worried that knee-jerk emotional reactions by anti-gun politicians will outlaw their right to purchase such tools of self-defense.

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