America's gun battle is over. The NRA has won

Wednesday , February 28, 2018 - 5:00 AM10 comments

DON PORTER, special to the Standard-Examiner

The National Rifle Association has won the gun battle. It has been wildly successful in its only reason for being: selling as many guns as possible.

The numbers tell the story; there are an estimated 300 million-plus firearms in the possession of 300 million-plus Americans.

Because the NRA’s victory is so complete, it’s now up to the rest of America to pay the price for the organization’s success. Because Americans have long been unwilling and/or unable to stem the flood of firearms, our society now must play defense when it comes to murderous thugs and psychopaths who so often use gun violence to achieve their goals.

It’s important to remember this fact: The NRA pretends to be a gun-rights organization. And it is, perhaps, but only to the extent it serves gun manufacturers and gun sellers.

Since our republic is awash in guns of every conceivable type, we cannot in any meaningful way curb the availability of guns to those who use them to murder, steal and threaten. The genie is out of the bottle, never to return.

Our politicians have for decades been derelict in their duty to protect the people they serve. They cater to the NRA and the gun industry and fear the voters who have been duped into believing the NRA’s propaganda. Somehow, they have managed do the gun industry’s bidding despite the sight and sound of dying children in schools, of dying concertgoers in Las Vegas, of dying and wounded church members in Ogden, Utah, Texas and South Carolina, of dying and wounded mall shoppers in Salt Lake City.

Which leaves us in the position we find ourselves today. We now must turn our schools into fortresses. To keep schoolchildren safe, we must “harden” each and every school campus in the United States. We must devise access protocols similar to the security at federal courthouses, airports, government buildings, sports arenas and other high-security locations.

There must be single-location ingress equipped with metal detectors, and full-time security personnel who are armed and trained to use deadly force. These guardians must be equipped with firearms that will match the potential threats posed by active shooters intent on killing students and teachers.

This increased security will not come cheap.

In Davis County, where I live, there are 89 schools. In Weber County, where my grandchildren will be educated, there are 65 schools. If we are actually serious about protecting children, we’ll have to pony up for metal detectors and guards and better surveillance/communication systems.

All this comes at a time when state lawmakers and voters are attempting to hike teacher pay and school funding. What choice will our policymakers and voters make? Will it be teacher compensation and retention? Or increasing security to thwart a shooter with a semiautomatic weapon and lots of ammunition?

Maybe I’m missing the obvious, but it’s tough to see how they’ll accomplish both.

My guess is the Legislature will punt on security. Some of the zealots will defend gun rights and praise the God-inspired U.S. Constitution, maybe even parrot the Tweeter-in-Chief’s roundly discredited call for armed teachers, and promise to study school safety during the interim between the current legislative session and next year’s.

In the meantime, they’ll hope really hard no Utah school gets shot up between now and then.

Though I personally would love nothing more, serious gun control is a fantasy. It’ll never happen. Americans won’t surrender their guns. The U.S. government won’t try to confiscate them. Ever.

The only way to actually make sure schools don’t become shooting galleries is to dramatically increase security. The guns are out there, already in the hands of tomorrow’s killers – or at the very least easily accessible when their minds finally snap.

That’s because the NRA has won. And as long as the organization’s executives can maintain the fear and the panic, more and more guns will continue to be sold. That’s the playbook. School slaughters, concert-venue massacres and shopping mall bloodbaths are collateral damage – the price of doing business in these United States of America.

You can email Don Porter at dportercolumn@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DonPondorter.

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