The editors of USA Today asked me to write a 340-word “opposing view,” refuting the paper’s pro-gun control editorial. One catch: I had to write mine without seeing theirs. But they could read mine before publishing theirs. How great is that? Yes, well, this wasn’t my first USA Today rodeo. I knew the rules. And I had a pretty good idea of what they’d write.
Click here to read USA Today’s 565-word gun control editorial After Las Vegas, 4 steps to help cut mass shooting toll. Long story short, it calls for a federal ban on bump fire stocks, military-style assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; and the imposition of gun purchase limitations.
Absent any specific intel, I decided that an absolutist Second Amendment argument would seem strident, insensitive and old-hat. I also knew the paper would beat readers over the head with stats. So I wrote a stat-free piece slamming gun control and offering alternatives for reducing “gun violence,” making only an oblique reference to armed self-defense.
Let me know if you think I played it right. And don’t forget to click here after you finish, to vote on whether you agree or disagree with my view. ‘Cause as of right now, 60 percent of McPaper readers “strongly disagree.”
Robert Farago: Gun control doesn’t work
In the aftermath of the Las Vegas spree killing, there’s an urgent call to do something. A cry to enact new laws that will stop the slaughter.
Given the pain, suffering and horror created by the Mandalay Bay shooter, it’s an entirely reasonable reaction. But it’s not rational.
What gun control law would have stopped the killer? Limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds? Restricting sales of semiautomatic rifles to one a month? Per year? Banning “assault rifles”?
When Stephen Paddock opened fire, he broke the law against murder. Dozens of times. Believing that any gun control law would have disarmed or dissuaded a man willing to commit mass murder is to fail to understand the nature of the beast.
Like it or not, America is home to hundreds of millions of guns.
Regardless of gun control laws, criminals, crazies and terrorists manage to obtain firearms. Always have. Always will. To believe otherwise is dangerously naive.
That’s because gun control is more than ineffective; it’s a distraction.
If we’re serious about reducing firearms-related injury and death, we have to focus on a range of effective solutions.
We have to end the revolving-door justice system that returns dangerous criminals to the streets. We have to improve economic and educational opportunities for inner city youth. We have to find new ways to provide mental health care to teenagers, veterans and others contemplating suicide.
We have to strengthen the bonds that tie us to each other, so we can help keep each other safe. We have to realize that we are our own first responders, and work to identify threats before they’re realized.
If we could pass laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mass murderers, it would reduce firearms-related crime. But we can’t. Gun control doesn’t work.
Even as we mourn the victims of the heinous assault in Las Vegas, we must resist the urge to see gun control as a simple solution to the death and destruction we decry. It is no such thing.
Robert Farago is publisher of The Truth About Guns website.