A school shooter's warning signals and the ready availability of assault rifles | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A school shooter's warning signals and the ready availability of assault rifles

Posted By on Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 8:49 AM

click to enlarge DOWNWARD TREND: Australian homicides trend downward following gun control law. The drop per thousand population is sharper. Also: No mass killings in Australia since the law was passed. - FACTCHECK.ORG
  • factcheck.org
  • DOWNWARD TREND: Australian homicides trend downward following gun control law. The drop per thousand population is sharper. Also: No mass killings in Australia since the law was passed.

The list of agencies alerted to possible danger from the suspect in the Florida school massacre continues to grow.

The New York Times reports here on the investigation of a Florida social services agency about Nikolas Cruz. Concerns about his potential for violence also were called in to the FBI. School officials had many concerns. Police made many reports. And yet he killed 17 at a school with an armed guard that had drilled carefully for shooting episodes.

Could he have killed 17 people had he not had hassle-free access to the purchase of a military-style semi-automatic assault weapon with large ammunition clips? I believe fewer assault weapons in America would mean fewer mass killings in America.

Things to consider as politicians issue bromides about mental health,  school safety, the futility of gun control laws and related topics:

* The Republican Congress and Donald Trump last year rolled back Obama-era rules that made it harder for people with mental illness to purchase a gun.

* The Trump budget would slash federal spending on school safety programs. And more here on the emptiness of Trump administration talk of school safety.

* The Trump budget cuts spending on a range of mental health programs.

Finally, and most of all, it is not an easy matter to prevent someone without a criminal record from owning a gun in the U.S. And given the unchecked ways that people can purchase weapons in private sales, it's not so easy to bar criminals either.

 still believe if assault weapons were banned, the likelihood of their use would drop. They ARE the weapon of choice in massacres.

Here's a 2017 Fact Check report on gun violence in Australia after assault weapons were outlawed and other gun control measures were enacted following a 1996 mass slaughter with an assault rifle. The homicide rate has dropped from 1.6 per thousand in 1996 to 1 per thousand in 2013-14, the most recent statistics available. There were 13 mass killings (four or more) in the 18 years before the gun control law and NONE in the 14 following years. There's more, but the trend is similar. Gun control appears to correlate with fewer lost lives.

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