The Heritage Foundation: Changing the Gun Narrative

By Emma Hurst

On Thursday, March 22 2018, over 50 students, parents, experts, and  educators met at the Heritage Foundation for a School Safety Teach-in. The event focused on finding solutions to the issues stemmed from Parkland school shooting and gun safety. In an open conversation between panelists and the attendees, the Teach-in’s main purpose was to begin to solve the issue of gun control in a logical and productive discussion.

The left offers a two word solution to gun control: ban guns. However, this approach is counterproductive. It is not sufficient. It is not serious. Simply saying “ban guns”  is easy in times of turmoil to advert blame and call for more regulations, control, and bans. This solves nothing. Instead, a gun ban dodges the blame to others without getting to the underlying issues that cause gun violence. This fact was highlighted at the Heritage Foundation’s School Safety Teach-in. Facts relating to gun violence exemplify the reason that the left’s idea to “ban guns” accomplishes little. In fact, Americans are safer today from gun violence as compared to the last thirty years. The media and left are excellent in instilling fear which would lead one to believe this is not true. Not only are Americans in general safer, but students in schools are safer than they have been in the last thirty years. Gun transaction rates are down, and there has been a decline in the number of school shooting related deaths. However, this fact is not accurately portrayed by those who distort facts to instill fear. In actuality, there has only been 22 school shootings since 1990. While it is 22 to many, it is not a number you would hear from the left or the media. Statistically, school is the safest place to be.

In order to combat the issues of gun violence, it is important to address the mental health dilemma that continues to grow in America. Two-third of deaths by firearms are suicides, most suffering from some type of mental health problem. Additionally, 60% of mass shooters suffer from server mental health issues. Pat Ryan, licensed professional counselor (LPC), explains that depression, suicide attempts, and successful suicides have rose, 35, 25, and 31 percent respectively in adolescent children since 2010. Ryan stresses the need of intervention from parents, teachers, and friends, before mental health issues increase. Therefore, there is a much larger issue concerning children than gun violence. Current policy pushes to ban guns does little to counteract where gun violence is stemming from, mental health issues.

In order to make schools safe again, and make our children safe again, there is an expressed need for community effort. It was the idea of community that drove the Heritage Foundation’s School Safety Teach-in. It was often asked, “what can we do now that will positively effective gun control discussions and legislation in the future.” It is no accident that America has become more diverse and more prosperous. The diversity and prosperity America brings allows citizens to have disagreements, discussions, and actions relating to gun control. However, the left searches for a naive and ignorant solution to just “ban guns.”

As conservatives we must recognize that the left cannot out care us when it comes to two things: freedom and life. It is up to conservatives to take back control of the narrative.

School safety is not about banning guns, it is about defending freedom and caring for the lives of our citizens. In order to successfully bring change, conservatives need to set the tone and emerge as leaders. The left is out performing conservatives in this area. They have been able to define, distort, and destroy the narrative on gun control. Thus, the School Safety Teach-in began the conversation on how conservatives can counteract this issue in a constructive and productive way.

Emma Hurst, NeW Intern



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