Carson's argument synced up perfectly with the one made by the National Rifle Association since the 2012 killings in Newtown, Conn. The NRA emerged from the debate over gun violence with a National School Shield Task Force, chaired by Asa Hutchinson, who's now the Republican governor of Arkansas. Its report inaugurated a new NRA program to offer gun training to school safety officer. "As more [armed] officers have been assigned to schools, school death rates have decreased," argued the task force. "These numbers support the notion that the presence of armed officers positively impacts the school environment."
The NRA's lobbying and the Republican victories of 2014 were boons to the cause of arming campuses. This summer, Texas passed sought-after legislation to allow students to carry guns. But as the Oregonian reported, and as many presidential candidates have ignored, the campus where the shooting occurred was not a gun-free zone. That's left Carson and others speaking hypothetically about how more guns might have changed the calculus on campus, and aggressively cultural weakness for allowing the conditions for the killings.
"As a Doctor, I spent many a night pulling bullets out of bodies," Carson wrote in a Facebook post. "There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking – but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away. Serious people seek serious solutions."
He wasn't the only one to stress the Second Amendment."Let me ask you: What stopped the shooter from shooting anyone else?" former Arkansas Mike Huckabee asked Newsmax host Steve Malzberg in an interview last week. "The guy with a gun, that's who."
It was a police officer -- not a student -- who ended the Oregon killing spree by exchanging fire with the shooter. But in a Tuesday article for RedState, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) asked readers to "get really politically incorrect" with him, and name the real culprit: A "garbage in, garbage out" society, with weak families and fetid pop culture.
"This killer’s father is now lecturing us on the need for gun control and he says he has no idea how or where his son got the guns," Jindal wrote. "Of course he doesn’t know. You know why he doesn’t know? Because he is not, and has never been in his son’s life. He’s a complete failure as a father, he should be embarrassed to even show his face in public. He’s the problem here. He brags that he has never held a gun in his life and that he had no idea that his son had any guns. Why didn’t he know? Because he failed to raise his son. He should be ashamed of himself, and he owes us all an apology. When he was asked what his relationship was with his son, he said he hadn’t seen him in a while because he lived with his mother. Case Closed."
In his interview with Malzberg, Huckabee suggested that the media consider whether its own coverage was a bigger contributing factor in killings than the availability of guns.
"Rather than the president tinkering with the Second Amendment, he might want to propose tinkering with the First Amendment, and maybe say that we will not say this guy's name on the air, not put his picture on the air," said Huckabee. "Refer to him as the savage, the animal, the thug."
The common thread in each interview, from three men seeking to own the social conservative lane of his party, was that natural, constitutional gun rights required a more moral America. In his interview with Page, however, Carson said that his own views on gun ownership grew more laissez-faire once he started "getting more into the history of this country" and considered how an unarmed citizenry could be at risk.
"When you look at tyranny and how it occurs, the pattern is so consistent: Get rid of the guns," said Carson.