From the Bloomberg School of Public Health study that concluded “assault weapon” bans don’t actually work to Dr. Garen Wintemute’s finding that California’s extensive gun control laws have done nothing to curb homicides or suicides by firearm, there is a slew of empirical information available demonstrating that gun control doesn’t work.
Of course, that’s probably because criminals ignore pesky things like laws, but I digress. Now, though, the LA Times has jumped in with their own conclusions regarding what kinds of gun rights limitations would work and it’s some fascinating reading:
A new database from The Violence Project provides some insight into what measures, if any, could stem the bloodshed. Researchers there conducted a detailed study of 167 mass shootings resulting in 1,202 deaths that have occurred in the U.S. since 1966.
We’ve cross-referenced their data with five types of gun control proposals. The analysis reveals that if all of these policies had been in effect at the federal level, they would have had the potential to prevent 146 out of 167 shootings, including all but one shooting in the past five years.
In the body of the article, LA Times journalist Rahul Mukherjee runs through a list of five gun laws he feels need to exist. So, what does he consider of the utmost importance? I’m so glad you asked.
First up is perhaps the greatest gem of the entire piece: a ban on straw purchases. Mukherjee uses Columbine as his example, stating a friend bought guns for the two killers and “a ban on straw purchases would have prevented that.”
Just one problem here. Straw purchases are already illegal. It’s almost like criminals are going to behave criminally no matter what laws are on the books.
Second on the list is the desire for a safe storage requirement. Some states have already put these on the books – Washington State, I’m looking at you and your rapid decline into anti-gun-hood – and here Mukherjee turns to the example of a California murderer to justify his request:
This law aims to prevent unauthorized people, like children, from accessing firearms. In 2001, an underage shooter in Sacramento who was blocked from purchasing a semiautomatic weapon was able to kill five people using his father’s firearms.
If you’re picturing a pre-pubescent kid swiping his dad’s gun and going on a rampage based on that description, you’re not alone. However, those murders back in 2001 were carried out by a 20-year-old security guard who’d been suspended from his job and reacted by spending 24 hours with guns and pipe bombs killing people.
He murdered his ex-girlfriend, three former co-workers, a City of Sacramento employee, and shot and injured a LEO and a passing motorist.
Why was he suspended? Because he’d trashed his ex’s car. He lived with his father (his mother, accused of molesting him, was in jail). His family was known for having run-ins with the police and was known for being white supremacists. Yes, Mukherjee, a safe gun storage laws would definitely have prevented that.
Third is that old favorite, an “assault weapons” ban which Mukherjee writes “would prohibit the sale of many high-powered rifles.” Taking the time to explain that AR-15s are not assault weapons feels like a pointless endeavor at this point. Oh, handguns aren’t assault weapons, either. Some states apparently need to hear that fact.
Mukherjee goes on to regurgitate other gun control clichés like how gun show loopholes not only exist, but are killing people and how if we only had red flag laws across the board, everything would be just fine:
The man who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., had attempted suicide, and his threats to attack a school had been reported to the local sheriff. A red flag law could have given someone the opportunity to intervene.
Wait. When it’s a 20-year-old security guard murdering his ex-girlfriend and co-workers he’s an “underage shooter” but when it’s a 19-year-old at a high school, he’s a man? Make up your mind, Mukherjee.
Words matter. So does an understanding of the law. The LA Times and Rahul Mukherjee display neither intellectual honesty nor any comprehension of current gun laws in this piece and my guess would be they don’t want any of those things.
What it comes down to is this: existing gun laws need to be enforced. Countless murderers have carried out their killing sprees with firearms obtained illegally whether by theft, lies, or government error (how many times have crimes committed by killers not been reported, allowing them to buy a gun themselves?).
Rather than adding still more laws to the pile, why not use what’s already on the books to reduce the number of criminals on the street? Just a thought.