UC Davis’s Dr. Garen Wintemute runs something called the Violence Prevention Research Center. Translation: he’s a hoplophobic grifter with a university sinecure who sucks up millions of dollars to keep his anti-gun rights operation going thanks to the largesse of like-minded individuals, foundations and, of course, California tax payers.
One of the groundbreaking conclusions the good doctor has come to after burning through stacks of that cash is that we can, in fact, do something about mass shootings. His oh-so-carefully analyzed and deeply innovative prescription: universal background checks and gun violence restraining orders.
But as the NRA-ILA notes, a consistency in Wintemute’s arguments is apparently the hobgoblin of a little mind.
Wintemute begins with a list of six mass shootings, the perpetrators of which all passed background checks. There were missed or ignored signs in some of these cases and evidence of systemic institutional failure in others – including opportunities to have the perpetrators involuntarily committed before their actions. Wintemute acknowledges his own research found “no evidence of an association between the repeal of comprehensive background check policies and firearm homicide and suicide rates in Indiana and Tennessee.” To be blunt, the comprehensive background check laws didn’t affect relevant homicides.
Details, details. A good civilian disarmament advocate would never let a little thing inconsistencies between his data and his conclusions get in the way.
His own research doesn’t stop Wintemute from pressing forward with his agenda. “But the findings do not support a conclusion that background-check requirements are fundamentally ineffective.” Try to reconcile that with the previously described findings. Wintemute seems to be really suggesting that we need better background checks – with more information shared to background check systems and clearer definitions of prohibited persons. This is different than “comprehensive background checks,” which generally require checks to be run even for transfers between friends or other private sales.
Much like the advocates of socialism who claim the system is totally awesome (it just hasn’t been implemented correctly anywhere yet), Wintemute seems to be saying that background checks really do work (if you just do them the right way), his own evidence to the contrary.
We just need to supplement them with an additional government permission slip.
Later in his article, Wintemute moves the goalpost from “comprehensive background checks” to “permits to purchase,” which would require law-abiding citizens to get permission from the government before they were allowed to purchase a firearm. Wintemute claims “many studies have found permit-to-purchase laws to be effective” but the Rand Corporation determined that licensing and permitting requirements have uncertain effects on total homicides, firearms homicides, and mass shootings because the evidence is inconclusive.
Again, nothing but silly inconsequential details. Contra-indications like that certainly won’t stop Dr. Wintemute from continuing to plug away, providing his constituency — the nation’s leading gun control organizations and the media (but we repeat ourselves) — with plenty of fodder to keep the civilian disarmament advocacy ball rolling forward.