Last Updated:November 28 @ 07:44 am

Reagan: Gun Control Won't Prevent Tragedy

By Michael Reagan

It's not tougher gun control, stupid.

No matter how much tougher we make our gun laws we'll never prevent future tragedies like last week's murder of those innocents in Newtown, Conn.

We won't stop future Newtowns if we outlaw every military-style assault weapon in America.

We won't stop future Auroras if we outlaw semi-automatic pistols or rifles, or mandate that no magazine clip can ever hold more than 10 rounds.

We won't stop future Virginia Techs if we make it tougher to buy a gun legally or if we shut down all gun shows on the continent for the rest of time.

Let's get real. America has an estimated 300 million guns. We could make owning a gun a capital crime today and by tomorrow 100 million guns would be hidden in our closets and buried in our backyards.

Good people, bad people and crazy people would still have access to tens of millions of guns and the ammunition they need. All the strict laws Mayor Bloomberg or Sen. Feinstein can dream up won't change that.

Some of the strictest gun laws in the country don't stop the gang-bangers of Chicago from slaughtering each other by the hundreds each year over drug turf.

Connecticut already had tough gun laws. So did Norway, where last year an evil extremist used guns and bombs to randomly kill 77 people -- mostly teenagers.

To politicians, banning all semi-automatic weapons or large magazines in guns sounds like a good solution to stop mass murders, but it isn't.

Those laws might keep the death toll in the single digits, but they won't stop another killing spree like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary from occurring in the first place.

I want to prevent mass murders from happening in schools, not merely reduce their number of victims. I'm not willing to accept six dead first-graders instead of 20. I'm not willing to accept a single dead teacher or principal or schoolchild.

And the only way to bring the death toll down to zero in our schools is to put trained armed guards in every one of them.

Not a retired policeman or a fat guy in a cheap uniform who sits in a chair all day. A real guard with a real loaded gun that he or she knows how to use and is authorized to shoot.

It could be a local police officer or a private security guard. And taxpayers would be willing to pay the price for knowing their kids were being protected by more than security cameras and locked doors.

Security is never foolproof. When my father was shot in 1981, he was the most protected person in America, surrounded by heavily armed and trained bodyguards.

The disturbed man who tried to kill him didn't use an assault rifle or a semi-automatic to carry out his plan. Before he was wrestled to the ground, he got off six shots in 1.7 seconds -- with a revolver.

I'll never forget what Mike Luty, the head of the Secret Service detail who was with me the day my father was shot, said to me when I asked, "How can you allow this to happen?" Luty said, "We train 24/7, but we can't stop the crazies."

We can't stop every crazy in America who is intent on committing mass murder, either, but we can try. We need to fix our mental health system so it's better able to identify potential killers before they kill, and we need to find ways parents can provide help to their kids over 18 without needing a court order.

But no matter what we do, evil people, crazy people and troubled suicidal young white males will always have access to guns and they'll plan their lethal attacks in secret and carry them out.

More gun control and gun-free zones won't stop them, but guns will. Putting armed guards -- with loaded weapons -- in our schools is the only sure way we can keep our future mass murderers from hurting any more of our innocent children.


Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at

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  1. norbertComment by norbert
    December 29, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    This is just too rational…. I believe that Diane Feinstein and Mike Bloomburg and Rahm Emmanuel already know this, but persist in their GC efforts anyway. Why? The simplest answer is that abolition of private ownership of weaponry is the most effective way to consolidate absolute power in government. When resistance is impossible, dissent goes underground and the populace become meek. Such is the way of totalitarianism.

    Mao is reputed to have opined that in a land as populous as China, a million or so deaths was meaningless. To establish full control of a nation of 300 million, 20 schoolkids don’t mean anything of significance……. just a bump in the road, like Benghazi.

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    • FlyboyComment by Flyboy
      December 30, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

      You’re dead on Norbert. The 2nd amendment, contrary to the way it has been argued to me by a few libs over the years, has everything to do with a well regulated militia. What did the militia consist of in the days of the revolutionary war? It was common folks like you and me who brought our own personal weapons to the fray. That is why the 2nd amendment goes on to say….the right of the PEOPLE to keep bear arms shall not be infringed. These tragedies are just a pretense for the “powers that be” to convince the masses that it is in our own best interest to disarm. The 2nd amendment again is a provision given us by the founders to ensure that our government will fear US. Like the Japanese in the 2nd world war said…..there were plans to invade the U.S. but they weren’t seriously considered since we knew we’d find a gun behind every blade of grass trained on us. I fear there are too many Marxist indoctrinated people out there now, good products of a liberal education (indocrination) system who are more than willing to sacrifice their right to self protection in exchange for these ambiguous ideas of peace and security. Peace and security are only ensured if we are strong as individuals and as a nation. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said….”the man who gives up his right to bear arms for peace and security will find he has neither.” Jefferson also said…..”The man who beats his sword into a plow share will become the slave of the man who doesn’t.”

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  2. gopluvaComment by gopluva
    December 29, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    Mike Reagan is right. Makes no sense with all the crazies out there to leave us defenseless. As long as the schools that fat cats send their kids to are protected with armed guards (or secret service)so should the rest of schools be protected.Next is the mental health issue of which they cant fix just like the budget.Get on it reps.

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    • jaijacobiaComment by jaijacobia
      December 29, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

      Shooting people is a symptom, not a disease. The disease is in the mind of the killers and except for the very few natural born killers, it was put there by the pharmaceutical companies that will never be controlled because they put billions into campaigns and they put more into lobbying than any other group except the American Medical Association.

      Psychotropic medicien kills, but it pays so our only defense is to boycott these murderous pharmaceuticals and the physicians who prescribe them.

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  3. jb80538Comment by jb80538
    December 29, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    It’s never been about guns.It’s always been about control…Control of the people. That’s what they really want.
    These folks know they can’t control the criminal.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      December 29, 2012 @ 11:17 am

      They refuse to admit that gun control laws do not apply to the criminals who refuse to obey the laws. They are not that stupid, they just look for ways to eliminate the second amendment because they fear the people being able to defend themselves against a tyrant in office.

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    • BillzillaComment by Billzilla
      December 29, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

      A lot of “these folks” are criminals themselves, white collar criminals. The taxpayers have been lied to and ripped off for trillions of dollars!

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  4. hagar2Comment by hagar2
    December 29, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    Does anyone seriously think the push for gun control is about defending against more tragedies? More gun free zones? After all they work so well. No gun control is about disarming the people so that government can more easily intimidate and control its serfs.

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  5. sd138Comment by sd138
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    This country seems to be imploding within. Now, we’re talking about defending ourselves from each other. Is this what it’s come to? When you turn away from God he turns you over to a reprobate mind and leaves you to your own devices.

    This mass murder in Sandy Hook was done by someone who lived in that upscale community where everyone thinks these kind of things don’t happen, same thing for Columbine and many others. Do we need protectiion from the Government or from each other.

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  6. Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    Kudos on a well written, very insiteful and meaningful column, Michael Reagan.
    One sniper in the right place at the right time is the ONLY thing that could possibly have mininmalized the damage in any of the places you mentioned. And what do snipers use as a tool for their trade? Well, gee, I bet it is a firearm of some description!

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  7. Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    Oh, and Michael Reagan, I’m curious: what do you think of the idea that John Hinckley gets to spend his life in the nut house and be released to go home with his mama on week ends? I live not far from Butner and every time they bring up that subject (i.e., he’s going home with his mother for the weekend, the holiday, etc.) it makes my blood boil! I believe with all my heart that he should have been executed! But wait! he’s crazy! No kidding! Anyone who would do such a thing is crazy!

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  8. geoinsdComment by geoinsd
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

    If politicians are TRULY sincere about stopping massacres, they would be considering what Israel did, and did so successfully, to stop such things. (What Israel did was to arm about 15% of its civilian population. They do regularly stop attacks in their tracks. It is just too expensive to pay for full time armed guards. A “well regulated militia” proved to work well.) But the politicians, particularly the Left, are not sincere. They only don’t want to waste this crisis to further their agenda.

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    • Grouchy OneComment by Grouchy One
      December 29, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

      I have to disagree with you geoinsd. I don’t want the US government picking which 15% of the population can carry arms! That would be a huge mistake!

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      December 29, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

      geoinsd, Israel does not function under the U.S. Constitution so they can do with their people as their desire. However, in the U.S. our Second Amendment does not limit us to 15% of the population and our government has already restricted the civilian ownership of firearms more than they should. The Second Amendment does not say that everyone EXCEPT felons, mentally ill, those who live in Chicago, New York, or Washington shall not have their right to keep and bear arms infringed. It also does not say that anyone must have a concealed carry permit or register a gun with the government in order to carry one.

      In the states that have “open carry laws”, the liberals insisted that there would be a blood bath because everyone was carrying firearms, but if you will check, all the blood baths have occurred in “gun-free zones” described by the government. There are 308 million people in the U.S., yet the government wants to use the actions of ONE mentally deranged individual to make us believe that everyone would be safer IF we were all disarmed.

      When our own federal government violates federal gun laws and operates an illegal scheme like Fast & Furious, I will not allow them to disarm me.

      The people who conducted that scheme should be prosecuted for the murder of at least two U.S. citizens, and the Commander-in-chief should be prosecuted for the murder of four U.S. citizens in Benghazi while refusing to protect them.

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  9. BillComment by Bill
    December 29, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

    We have a culture problem not a gun problem by the time a child is ten, the child has seen over a hundred murders on TV. The ACLU and our federal dictators in black robes have taken God given morals out of our schools. Hollywood and the ACLU is making the people rotten to the core so don’t be surprise when all h e l l brakes loose.

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    • extyrequeenComment by extyrequeen
      December 29, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

      bill you are 100% correct in your inalagy…..the culture
      with the violent video games and the deaths on tv. what no one is talking about is the 500 MURDERS that have happened this year aone in chicago in the black community is appalling.
      just where is the lame stream media on this….on yeah bad for
      this adminnistration cant’t talk about this….

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      December 30, 2012 @ 8:19 am

      Yes we have a “culture” problem. However, it is self-inflicted due to the fact that we allowed the liberals to “transform” our society into one of NO morals. We are not allowed to present the Ten Commandments in our elementary schools. We have removed all reference of God, morality, right / wrong, good / evil, and our children are taught to “be themselves”.

      When we start seeing the results of the brainwashing of our future generations, we start grasping for answers and blame guns, mental issues, and everything else except the underlying problem–lack of training in morality and instructing in right/wrong. These are absolute truths and not open to interpretation.

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  10. wmaceoComment by wmaceo
    December 29, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

    Mr. Reagan, using your rationalization, we wouldn’t have bothered cretaing vacinations for polio or tuburculosis or the flu, since millions get those diseases anyway. We wouldn’t have seat belts and children’s car seats, since millions drive everyday without accidents. Yes, Mr. Reagan, the fewer guns we have the fewer people will be killed. I’m not one for taking guns away, but the more we can eliminate the “guns of choice” of these mentally handicappaed individuls who feel then need to kill innocents for no reasons, the better off we all are. I’ve owned guns and rifles, but have NEVER seen the need for an assult rifle. If you can’t bring down a deer, or stop a home invasion with 6 to 9 bullets, you don’t need to own a gun. Use the brain your father gave you. But then, again, he wasn’t always on teh mark. It took his daughter to enlighten him on nuclear weapons. God, protect us from you and those who think like you, along with those who would use the guns you so much want to make sure are readily available to the general public with little to no restrictions.

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    • cayrnComment by cayrn
      December 30, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

      HUH? You can’t be serious. Can you? Look at the steady rise of violent crime in Great Britain since they confiscated the guns of the citizenry there, they are having to deal with more violence because the bad guys have the fire power and the citizens can’t protect home and loved ones. Even the police are carrying again. It didn’t work there. It won’t work here.

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  11. torkwrench3699Comment by torkwrench3699
    December 30, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    I appreciate an alternate view. I am seeking to understand both positions. However your attempt to ridicule President Reagan seems unrelated, spiteful, and immature. Back to the matter at hand. You see no legitimate purpose for high capacity mags (more than 10 rounds)? Have you been to any nationally recognized shooting events? IDPA and IPSA both use high capacity mags (thousands of participants nation wide). You don’t find them advantageous for defense? Don’t you know the secret service and law enforcement carry them for their defense? My family’s security is just as important as theirs. Assault weapons? The best selling rifle for years has been the AR-15. Do you think millions of people are buying them to kill someone? I don’t. I believe they enjoy target shooting. I know my family loves a day at the range. Please just consider there are more purposes and options than you implied by your comment. That was a very narrow view of an activity that encompasses millions in this country.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      December 30, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

      “The best selling rifle for years has been the AR-15.”

      They are not being bought to kill someone or simply for hunting. They are purchased for many reasons, but the main reason is because we have a right to own them.

      The thing that irritates me about these idiotic politicians is the fact that they feel they must do something, even if it makes no sense. In the last “assault weapon” ban, the definition of an “assault weapon” issued by the government was ANY firearm that had 3 of the following:
      1. a folding or telescoping stock;
      2. a pistol grip;
      3. a bayonet mount;
      4. a flash suppressor;
      5. a muzzle capable of launching a grenade;
      6. a magazine capacity over 10 rounds.

      None of these accessories have anything to do with the performance of the weapon because law-abiding people don’t own or use “grenades” and have no need for a grenade launcher. Also law-abiding people don’t own bayonets and don’t mount them on their firearms. It is just the determination of the politicians that we should not own a magazine holding more than 10 rounds.

      There is nothing wrong with owning a rifle that has an adjustable stock, a pistol grip for better control, flash suppressor, and a 20-round magazine. Even the fully-automatic M-16 military combat rifle only used a 20-round magazine, so why is there so much debate over a 30-round mag?

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  12. manxnortonComment by manxnorton
    December 30, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    doe,s fienstein
    for get that nazi germany took all the gun,s from the german,s in 1936 and look what hapened 6.000.000 JEW,S DIED,
    and dont think it can not happen again? if you take our legal gun.s the only one.s that will have gun,s is the street gangs
    and thugs and drug dealers? so get your head,s out of your @#!$%#^ and start thinking like senators that,s what we pay you for

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  13. cayrnComment by cayrn
    December 30, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    I just plain want to keep my second amendment freedom. We have slowly but surely been seduced into giving up so many of our rights and freedoms in this country in the past few decades lets say we stop that trend before it’s too late.

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  14. FlyboyComment by Flyboy
    December 30, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    Hey Mike, you’re right on as usual. But let’s stop for a minute and look at this debate from another perspective. More gun laws are not the answer. Demonizing guns and gun owners is not the answer, although an effective propaganda tool for the left to rob us of our right to protect ourselves from enemies both foreign and domestic. More restrictions on styles of weapons and magazine capacities are not the answer either. I think it was James Madison who said of government that it was…”a necessary evil in light of the fact that a few men cannot police themselves.” Our national conscience has been seared as with a branding iron. I am reminded of the 1996 presidential debate. It was the last one, and was a town hall type debate. The question was posed to both President Clinton and Senator Dole…….”What would you do as President to bring this country back to it’s moral and ethical foundations?” Neither candidate really answered the question. The answer I was waiting for would have been something to this effect. There is very little I could do, even as President of the United States, to affect the kind of change you’re talking about, aside from trying to be the best example as I could of personal piety and morality, as far short of Gods standard as I know that would fall. What I would do is call for every Pastor, every Rabbi, every preacher, evangelist, Sunday school teacher there are, regardless of denominational stripe, to leave the service of their congregations for a period of time. Go somewhere to be alone. Just you, your copy of the Holy Scriptures, and God. Get on your knees before the Almighty and shine the light of His word into your very hearts, and let it reveal your sin to you. Admit and confess that sin to God and don’t leave that place until you know that as the 120 who gathered in the upper room waiting for the day of Pentecost were endued with power from on high, that you too have touched God and that He has touched you and empowered you to take this message back to your congregations and bid them do the same. Only this level of grass roots spiritual renewal can affect this change that must come to America if we are to survive as a nation. Jefferson said that the only way for this grand experiment in self governance to work is “If the nation, from the simplest farmer to the statesman are a moral people.” The standard for that morality is clear. Your father knew that very well Mike. It’s our own hearts that are dark. All the laws in the world cannot control the behavior of the lawless. We MUST REPENT. Repentance is a gift from God. It simply means that when confronted with the truth of our poor spiritual condition and thus the poor condition of our hearts and minds, that we “Have another mind” or “Change our minds” and as a result change our behavior. We need a new heart people. If your’s is cold,dark or indifferent with regards to the things of God, His law, His word and His love……just repent so that seasons of refreshing can come from the presence of the Lord. It should strike anyone with 1/2 a brain, that we have fallen far away from our beginnings, since we are now facing these kinds of things and having these kinds of debates. We are a society that has lost it’s way and are heading at break neck speed to totalitarianism since we can’t or won’t be subject to Gods laws and can’t or won’t be a moral people. We are wasting time picking fruit off of a tree that is rotten to the core. The answers come from within, from our hearts, not a politicians or legislators pen.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      December 31, 2012 @ 9:07 am

      Flyboy, The fact that you have revealed the truth and received 2 of the lowest ratings available speaks volumes about the decadence of our nation and our individuals. Until the people are willing to accept the truth, we will not see any improvement in our society. People do not want to accept personal responsibility or be held accountable to God for their own actions.

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  15. jren48Comment by jren48
    December 31, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    First,let me state that I am a 2nd Amendment supporter. That being said, I have to take issue with one inconsistency in Mr. Reagan’s logic. He agrees with the NRA’s position of putting a trained armed guard in every public school to protect our kids. And then says that “my father” had a bevy of well trained, armed guards surrounding him when a “crazy” shot, and almost killed him. If the SS cannot protect, how is a single man or women at the entrance of a school going to stop someone intent on killing children?
    Keeping the guns out of the hands or the insane, mentally ill, and criminally minded seems to be the best move. Let the well vetted citizen arm him/herself to the teeth, but restrict that ‘right’ from those who might be one of the “crazies”! To do that, we need to redouble the efforts to indentify and treat the mentally ill, and disarm , not the law abiding citizen, but the criminal element and gang bangers. Just a thought.

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    • cayrnComment by cayrn
      December 31, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

      One of the issues with gun purchases is that there are people deemed to be mentally ill,or with certain criminal records by an agency ie. mental health commitment. But when a gun dealer does the required records check that person is cleared to purchase because the information has not been communicated in a timely manner. This is one of the things that needs to change.

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    • torkwrench3699Comment by torkwrench3699
      January 2, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

      I don’t think anyone would argue with prohibiting “crazy’s” from having guns. The problem is mental illness is not an exact science. Completely sane people have the potential to act irrationally and criminally. Yes we need some restrictions. However, you cannot guarantee the criminally insane will not get them anyway. In fact, the criminals are guaranteed to have them. Do not allow a background check to give you a false sense of security! With that reality in mind we must prepare for the eventuality that criminals will access firearms and they will use them to commit crimes. Mr. Reagan was correct that the only way to ultimately stop them is with an armed response.

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  17. cayrnComment by cayrn
    January 2, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

    Absolutely! That’s why I cited the problems with Great Britain. You are correct,mental health/psychiatry is not an exact science. You cannot x-ray the brain and make a mental illness diagnosis the way you can diagnose a broken bone. It just doesn’t work that way.

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