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I grew up in the 1950s. Firearms were much more available then than now. You could buy a JC Higgins rifle through the mail, no background check, no requirement to go through a federal firearms ficensee. Every high school had a rifle team. No one had heard of trigger locks, gun safes or gun-free zones.

In the entire decade of the 1950s, there was one, count ‘em, one mass shooting.

In the Sixties, six mass shootings. In the Seventies, 13. It’s fairly obvious that changes were happening in American society during that time – probably a combination of societal changes – which favored the increase in mass shootings. But availability of firearms was NOT one of them. That has steadily grown more restrictive since the 1950s while mass shootings have increased.

Until we honestly address the societal changes which have led to this increase in mass shootings, they will continue. Unfortunately, addressing these societal changes is unlikely. It’s much easier to virtue-signal than to look into our hearts to see what it is we’ve lost since the 1950s which is causing this.

One easy thing we can do: eliminate gun-free zones, which are actually free-fire zones. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 97.8% of mass shootings occur in so-called gun-free zones. This makes perfect sense. If you are going to commit mass murder, wouldn’t you prefer a location where your victims can’t fight back? Of course; these people aren’t stupid. But virtue-signaling is still what is important; not public safety.

Jonathan Hayes

Corvallis (Aug. 7)

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