Dennis Henigan (above) used to be the guy at The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence — before Michael Bloomberg threw down $50m to assume the mantle of Civilian Disarmament Czar and propel the oddly named Everytown for Gun Safety into the gun control spotlight. Mr. Henigan is now the Director of Legal and Policy Analysis at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. You could say he’s lowered his sights, but then…gun metaphor. Anyway, Henigan was sitting around in his orange shirt (not in jail) celebrating National Gun Violence Awareness Day and decided to throw down a hoary old chestnut at huffingtonpost.com: guns make killing too easy! And away we go . . .
Yada yada yada recent firearms-related deaths (paraphrasing). The scenarios were varied, but the terrifying descriptions point to a conclusion common to all: if no guns were available, violence may have ensued, but countless lives would have been saved and serious injuries avoided.
No guns available! Why, that sounds like civilian disarmament! I thought the Bradys et al. support the Second Amendment — aside from the fact that they don’t. I guess time away from the Brady Campaign has emboldened Mr. Henigan.
Typically, the violence was sparked by the most banal of offenses, like one person shoving another in a bar, or a Facebook taunt, or a disagreement over the music at a house party. They occurred mostly outdoors, at virtually any place groups of people gather; at neighborhood barbecues, family reunions, music festivals, basketball tournaments, Sweet 16 parties, public parks. Only about one-third were gang-related or were drive-by shootings typical of gang violence. Even those that were gang-related were prompted, not by criminal activity like drug dealing, but by eruptions begun by a boast, an insult or some other sign of disrespect. Take the guns out of the picture, even if the combatants had been armed with other weapons, like knives or baseball bats, there is no doubt countless lives would have been spared.
Only a third of recent firearms-related injuries and deaths were gang-related? Gang-related ballistic beefs have nothing to do with drug dealing? It’s just playing the dozens gone homicidal? It would be nice to see some sort of evidence for these assertions. Not surprisingly, the only citation Mr. Henigan recognizes is Mr. Bloomberg’s private jet. And I bet he’s really jealous.
And while we can argue about the gun-free parallel universe of Mr. Henigan’s imagination, that’s not the world we live in. And a good thing too, given that there may be as many as a million defensive gun uses per year in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. [Note to Mr. Henigan: that’s how you link.] Speaking of opinions masquerading as facts . . .
The National Rifle Association and its allies will insist that no laws will prevent dangerous people from getting guns, invoking the bumper sticker slogan that “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Yet we know that every gun used in those multiple shootings started out in the legal gun market and that even modest regulation of the legal market can help to deny violent individuals access to guns.
And we know that “modest gun control regulation” has an inhibitory effect on firearms-related crime because…we don’t. I’ve got one word for that theory: Chicago. You know, the city with some of the nation’s toughest — sorry, a lot of “modest” gun control laws. The same city on its way to record firearms-related injuries and deaths.
And now a word from Mr. Henigan’s sponsor. Himself.
As I argue in my forthcoming book, Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People and Other Myths About Guns and Gun Control (Beacon Press, publication date August, 2016), when the Brady Law background checks began in 1994, there was an immediate and substantial drop in the percentage of violent crimes that involved guns, inaugurating a long-term decline in gun crimes and homicides.
Oh now he figured out how to link. And claim credit where credit’s not due. But all credit to Mr. Henigan for crafting a by-the-numbers anti-gun diatribe that bears no resemblance to reality.
We simply cannot afford to continue to allow the simple-minded slogans of the gun lobby to dictate national gun policy.
Yes. Yes we can. In fact, thanks to the Second Amendment Mr. Henigan and The Huffington Post can afford to publish sheer nonsense dressed-up as rational thinking. You’re welcome.