In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre, the forces of civilian disarmament have slipped the leash. The mainstream media’s baying for gun control is deafening. But if you listen carefully [closed course, professional blogger] you can hear a strange undercurrent to their “arguments” for gun control laws (e.g., “universal background checks,” “an assault weapon ban” and “No Fly, No Buy” prohibition). Even as the antis howl with righteous indignation they admit that there’s no hard evidence that any of these laws would have an appreciable impact on crime, terrorism or global warming (just thought I’d put that in there). But WTH! As Gary Gilmore famously pronounced in his last moments on earth, let’s do it!
The National Rifle Association and other extremists use a form of this jujitsu every time a mentally ill person or a hater uses the efficient killing machines known as guns to inflict mass death. But in an era of lone-wolf radicalization, the aftermath of a homegrown terrorist attack is exactly the time to talk about sensible limits on gun ownership. After Sandy Hook would have been the right time. After Umpqua would have been the right time. Headline-grabbing mass shootings remind us of how good guns are at killing people. They also remind us — or should — that a rational government would regulate such dangerous products, just as it regulates cars, pharmaceuticals and other more useful things.
Of course the government cannot legislate an end to gun violence. But it can take measures that would reduce gun violence without infringing on constitutional rights.
Congress is debating ways to end gun sales to suspected terrorists, a policy that lawmakers realize must come with due-process protections for those under suspicion. Even if it would not have prevented Orlando, this reform might force the next homegrown terrorist to work harder to find his firearms, raising attention as he does, or to give up. Another proposal would deny guns to people who have misdemeanor hate-crime convictions, which poses fewer due-process issues.
I take a serious exception to The Washington Post’s assertion that gun control laws can reduce “gun violence” (a poorly defined term that lumps suicides with firearms-related homicides) by an unjustified, unspecified amount without violating the Second Amendment. Just for the record, all gun control laws violate the Second Amendment.
Be that as it is, you can hear the fatalism in their editorial. We don’t know if these laws will work, we can’t know if these laws will work, but they’re sensible God damn it! If they save one life . . . Ignoring the obvious, indeed inescapable fact that disarming people leads to unnecessary bloodshed. On a very large perhaps unimaginable scale.
In this — and the use of tragic images to underpin their “arguments” — the WaPo is not alone. Many media outlets make the same metaphorical shoulder shrug along with their clarion call for civilian disarmament. I guess it helps them convince themselves (if no one else) that they are “reasonable.” Truth be told, the discrepancy between antis’ disarmament desires and the probable non-outcome makes gun control advocates look like the proto-fascists that they are. The end justifies the means — even if it doesn’t! Oy.