As strong as California’s gun laws are, it’s still easier to get guns there than it is in Europe, or Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand. The US began regulating gun access when we already had millions of guns in circulation. Other countries didn’t do that, so they don’t have this problem.
But here the gun lobby holds tremendous sway, and gun companies just want to keep selling guns. And they’ve been able to – our gun laws have been weakened considerably over the last 30 years, thanks to gun industry lobbying.
Half the states have permit-less carry. So where are the gun companies in all this? This is a corporate responsibility story too. They can set safety standards themselves if they wanted to, but they’re not.
California’s gun laws also end at California state lines. Several mass shooters in recent years have gotten guns from Nevada. Gun violence experts and law enforcement sources I’ve spoken to over the last few days all say the same thing: It’s nearly impossible to eradicate this violence completely when there are 400 million guns in circulation.
And mass shooters often don’t display behavior that rises to the level of a gun ban. That’s a high bar – involuntary mental health commitment, a felony, or a domestic violence conviction. California does have a system to take guns from legal gun owners who become prohibited due to a crime, the Armed Prohibited Persons System, but there’s a backlog.
The bottom line: This is what happens when you don’t have a strong federal system of gun regulation. Guns have a 100-year shelf life. If we banned them tomorrow, we’d still have gun violence for generations.
What we need is an all-hands approach that involves the gun companies, public health experts, and gun owners deciding that this violence isn’t sustainable, and that the time has come to set safety standards.
Until we all decide as a culture that we’ve had enough, this will continue – and gun companies will continue to profit from this bloodshed.
— Jennifer Mascia in Why California’s ‘strong’ gun laws are in danger