The deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, TX, is leading to a flurry of new demands for gun control. As is par for the course in these situations, political posturing takes center stage, and any discussion of who the shooter was, why he did what he did, and what actually might have prevented him from doing it is pushed aside for vast generalities and nods toward unrelated “solutions.”
Take universal background checks, for example. That is the top policy prescription being offered by Democrats and their media allies right now. The problem? The Uvalde shooter passed a background check. But what about mandatory waiting periods, another common proposal? Well, the shooter waited over a week before even picking up the rifles he bought, meaning he’d have been outside of pretty much any waiting-period window (most are three to seven days). Is the suggestion that one more week would have changed the evil in his heart?
Unfortunately, Republicans in Washington are beginning to wilt under the pressure even though the pressure being applied is largely irrational and in bad faith. Per Axios, a non-insignificant number of GOP senators are lining up to “compromise” on gun control.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that there are “many more Republicans willing to talk” about gun control legislation following the Uvalde mass shooting last week than he’s seen in the last 10 years.
Driving the news: “Every single time after one of these mass shootings, there’s talks in Washington and they never succeed,” Murphy said. “But there are more Republicans interested in talking about finding a path forward this time than I have ever seen” since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Murphy is the same terrible human being who rushed to essentially accuse Republicans of wanting to murder children in the immediate aftermath of the shooting in Uvalde, getting on his hands and knees to “beg” for the passage of gun control legislation. Again, nowhere in Murphy’s plea is a willingness to actually discuss what legislation would be effective or not. Rather, we must simply “do something” even if that something would have had no tangible effect on the most recent or past mass shootings.
As to where exactly Republicans are looking to compromise, here’s what Murphy had to say.
“But what we’re talking about is not insignificant,” Murphy said. “Inside this room, we’re talking about red flag laws we’re talking about strengthening, expanding the background check system, if not universal background checks.”…
…”We’re talking about safe storage, and yes, we’re also talking about mental health resources and more security dollars for schools. A package that, really in the end, could have a significant downward pressure on gun violence in this country.”
Some of the things mentioned here are actually good. More security for schools needs to happen. As I shared in my critique of the criticism of Ted Cruz on that subject, my children’s school has a single-entry set up with a magnetic door. In no way does it feel like a prison, and I have never seen any child even notice the simple security measures in place.
Mental health resources are also good in theory, but simply throwing money at the problem isn’t a solution to anything. Are Democrats going to allow forced committals of objectively mentally ill individuals, something that wouldn’t just affect possible mass shooters, but the violent homeless encampments that dot blue cities across the nation? Somehow, I doubt it.
The shooter in Uvalde was cutting his face, killing cats, having domestic disputes with his mother, and shooting bystanders with a BB gun. He was also reported for making death threats by someone online. If CPS ever should have removed a child from a home (he was under-18 until weeks prior to the shooting) and put them into a facility, it should have been this time, yet nothing was done. If that’s not what Democrats and Republicans mean by mental health resources, it’s not going to be effective.
Moving past the areas of possible effective compromise, though, there is no chance Democrats walk away without getting their way on something that directly violates the rights of Americans. In this case, Murphy mentions universal background checks, which again, would not have stopped this shooter like almost every shooter before him. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “we already have background checks,” and you’d be correct. In fact, I can’t think of a single mass shooting (i.e. high-profile, school shootings, etc.) where the gun was purchased privately, ducking an FFL-background check. In almost all cases, shooters either pass a background check or steal their guns from family members.
But the point of universal background checks is really to create a federal gun registry. That way the government knows who has the guns and where. When you recognize that, it’s easy to understand why Democrats love the idea so much despite its obvious ineffectiveness.
Lastly, it appears “red flag” laws will be the major concession by Republicans going forward. Yet, putting aside the constitutional issues at play (due process), my primary aversion to the idea is simply that they don’t seem to work, at least in regards to mass shooters. New York has an extremely broad red flag law. It didn’t stop the Buffalo grocery store shooter just a few weeks ago. From my view, it seems like trying to stop an army of ants with a magnifying glass. And while I’ll concede red flag laws might be effective in regards to suicide prevention, that’s not the discussion here, right?
Here’s the thing, though. When whatever red flag laws that get passed fail to stop the next mass shooter, the call to “do something” will only grow louder. And the next “something” will be an even further encroachment. I understand the desire to act in good faith and attempt to take some of the heat off, but Republicans have to understand that the Democrat push for gun confiscation and an “assault weapons” ban will not stop with whatever compromise legislation arises here.
That leaves the obvious question for Republicans: Is it smart to give ground when the end goal of the Democrats is being telegraphed to you? I know my answer.
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