Widely held opinion: There was just no advanced warning, authorities had no way to take action to prevent this crime. So the best thing to do is ban the weapon the shooter chose!
Reply: Both the FBI and Broward County deputies received at least 20 calls warning them about Nikolas Cruz from 2008 to 2017, including concerns that he “planned to shoot up the school” and other threats and acts of violence before he was accused of killing 17 people at a high school.
The warnings, made by concerned people close to Cruz, came in phone calls to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, records show. At least five callers mentioned concern over his access to weapons, according to the documents. None of those warnings led to direct intervention. In February 2016, neighbors told police that they were worried he “planned to shoot up the school” after seeing alarming pictures on Instagram showing Cruz brandishing guns.
Widely held opinion: We need tougher gun control laws and more a thorough background check that would prevent the mentally ill from purchasing a firearm.
Reply: No true. We already have laws on the books that make it illegal for mentally ill persons to purchase a firearm. Under federal law, a person can be tallied in a database and barred from purchasing or possessing a firearm due to a mental illness under two conditions: if he is involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, or if a court or government body declares him mentally incompetent.
In many states, including Florida, law enforcement can take an individual to a mental hospital against his or her will for an initial evaluation. If after 72 hours the doctors observing the individual want to continue that treatment, then they can petition a court for permission, even against the patient’s wishes.
That — a court order allowing a person’s continued involuntary institutionalization — is one thing that should stop an individual from purchasing a firearm.
If the person was taken in for mental treatment involuntarily but was not requested to be held past 72 hours, he is not blocked from buying a gun.
In Florida, if the court chose to commit even an underage individual, he would fail a background check on that basis.
Widely held opinion: If only we had a trained police officer on the campus that could respond quickly to a shooter or act as a deterrent to a shooter.
Not true in this case, a deputy was assigned to provide protection for the campus and was on scene when the shooter arrived. He did not see him. When the shooting started he did not follow protocol and respond, instead he waited for backup. He was publically criticized for his dereliction of duty and he resigned after it was shown on video he acted incompetently. In general an armed campus officer probably would have saved lives or could have stopped the shooter before he began shooting.
Widely held opinion: A gun free zone provides for enhanced penalties if a gun is brought on campus illegally and in some cases legally. This makes a gun free zone safer.
Untrue. This has never been shown to have any effect in preventing a major offense, especially in shooting offenses.
Widely held opinion: The AR15 is a deadly weapon with a high capacity magazine that the public does not need for any legitimate purpose.
Mostly untrue. There are many more deadly weapons than an AR-15. The round it shoots is a high velocity .223 bullet (.22 cal) designed more for wounding than killing. The light weight bullet is easily deflected by hard objects such as tree limbs, furniture or even window glass. At close range a well placed shot can be deadly, but so can a pistol, shotgun or many other weapons.