The Left has been using the victims and families of the Parkland, Florida, shooting to advocate for more gun control, and in some extreme cases, to call for an all-out repeal of the Second Amendment. But not all survivors of mass shootings agree that gun control is the appropriate response to school shootings. Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a former student of Columbine High School during the 1999 mass shooting, has once again introduced legislation to remove limitations on concealed carry in K-12 schools.
According to the Washington Times, Neville has introduced the bill annually since he was elected in 2014, asserting that the current law “creates a so-called gun free zone in every K-12 public school,” making students and teachers easy targets.
“This act would allow every law-abiding citizen who holds a concealed carry permit, issued from their chief law-enforcement officer, the right to carry concealed in order to defend themselves and most importantly our children from the worst-case scenarios,” Neville said in a statement.
Neville’s response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting is far different from the typical knee-jerk reaction seen among the Left and the mainstream media following mass shootings.
“As a former Columbine student who was a sophomore during the shootings on April 20, 1999, I will do everything in my power to prevent Colorado families from enduring the hardships my classmates and I faced that day,” Neville said. “Time and time again we point to the one common theme with mass shootings: they occur in gun-free zones.”
Neville understands that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens will go a long way in helping to stop would-be mass shooters. Conservative pundit Ann Coulter observes, “Thanks to our Second Amendment, the United States has fewer mass shootings per capita than many other developed countries, including Norway, France, Switzerland, Finland, Belgium and the Czech Republic. (And 98 percent of our mass shootings occur in ‘gun-free zones.’)"
But these facts do not fit in with the Left’s narrative about gun safety and rights. Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro notes that the Left often resorts to victim identity politics to advance legislation that would otherwise be unpopular. It has become a regular activity of the Left to trot out victims of gun violence to make emotional but overly simplistic pleas about gun control. Nearly all major media outlets seem to have featured commentary from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students. Some of the school’s shooting survivors are feeding right into the Left’s ploys by leading a March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., on March 24.
The problem, of course, is that while these students are certainly sympathetic speakers, their impassioned pleas are full of emotion and devoid of fact. For example, one student, Emma Gonzalez, gave a gun control speech last week that was highlighted by CNN in which she argued that it was “harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon,” a statement that is simply untrue.
What’s worse is that these survivors are being manipulated by the mainstream media and the Left and likely do not even realize it, and any students who refuse to stick to the Left’s anti-gun narrative are left behind.
According to Colton Haab, an ROTC student at Stoneman Douglas High School who helped usher students to safety, Wednesday’s CNN town hall event on the school shooting entitled “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action” was scripted. Haab says he was censored from asking questions other than the ones that were provided by the station.
"CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted," Haab told WPLG-TV.
Haab explained that he wrote questions that addressed school safety and wanted to suggest using veterans to help protect schools, but that was unacceptable to the network.
It was clear that the town hall was overwhelmingly stacked with anti-gun zealots. Two students hand-picked by CNN openly attacked National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch as a bad mother while moderator Jake Tapper sat in silence.
Using emotional victims to push policy never paves the way for constructive policy debate. Shapiro expounds on this for the Daily Wire:
Good policy is good regardless of timing; bad policy is bad regardless of timing. But when something horrific occurs, it’s in the interest of those pushing a related policy to suggest that those who oppose the policy somehow don’t care enough about victims. We heard this from gun control advocates after Sandy Hook, after Pulse, after Virginia Tech, after Columbine — after every mass shooting. Passion doesn’t make policy good or worthwhile. And injecting emotional accusations into the process never makes policy — or the country — better. Usually such accusations merely end with more heavyhanded government policy that doesn’t actually achieve the end for which it supposedly aims.
For the same reasons the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics states that physicians should not treat themselves or members of their immediate families in fear that emotions will cloud their judgment, victims should not be treated as unbiased resources for policy proposals immediately following the events in which they were victimized.