I had intended today to make a post about Syria, as that has been a passion of mine since the beginning of that conflict in 2011 and its now back in the news, but something else happened to draw the attention of the nation; another shooting.
Within hours of the shooting the President gave a speech condemning the act, as presidents are oft to do, but also launched into a tirade about his frustrations with gun control. Presidents are politicians so it is not unusual for them to take every opportunity to push their agenda. CNN, now a department within the White House, began publicizing a misleading chart at the White House’s request. It should be noted that, as part of this “honest reporting” CNN has been circulating a video clip of the speech with large white words overplayed on top, emphasizing a particular point. This is aimed directly at social media users who have their sound muted or who would gloss over another video of the president without investigating. This is a level of video editing far beyond what was done with the demonized Planned Parenthood videos, but that is another article.
During the speech, the president preempted opposition to his desire for new, pointless, laws by saying groups would point out that his suggestions were pointless and advocate “more guns” which is a gross mis-characterization. Pointing out your opponent’s argument is a very old tactic for de-legitimizing the other side of a debate, but it in no way diminishes the validity of that argument. If a thief was speaking before a judge and pointed out that his opposition would make wild claims about his crime, insisting that it harmed his victims and violated their right to be safe, would you then doubt the position of the State? Of course not. It’s the same thing.
Still, lets look at the supposed arguments the evil gun lobby would put forward. The idea behind “less control” that the president loathes so much, is to eliminate gun free zones so that people are free to protect themselves. This does not remove background checks, nor issue a gun to every citizen. It simply allows guns in the very dangerous “gun free” zones that these killings take place in. In absence of open carry laws (allowing guns to be worn in plain view of the public) those carrying firearms in schools, theaters, military bases and recruitment centers, would have to first get a concealed carry permit from the STATE. These permits require in-person classes on the proper use of a firearm as well as extensive background checks and licenses from the Government. Very, very, very few gun crimes are committed by concealed weapons holders. The “more guns” lobby simply wants those people, the ones who have been trained and investigated, to be allowed to carry weapons in gun free zones.
All of the mass shootings have happened in “Gun Free” zones. Furthermore, oft-repeated suggestion for stricter gun control is the limitation of high capacity magazine (more than 7 rounds) and an outright ban on “assault” rifles. Neither of these suggestions would have prevented the Oregon attack, the Chattanooga attack (not mentioned by the President), Sandy Hook. Charleston, etc. etc. It would also seem apparent that someone willing to break the law to bring a gun into a gun free zone and break the law to then MURDER those people would not be intimidated by a third law to limit the capacity of their magazine or their choice of weapon. But, let us examine these suggestions nonetheless.
Most mass shootings are made using semi-automatic handguns and while a limitation on magazine capacity would mean the shooter must reload more often, the process still takes but 2 or 3 seconds, insufficient time to launch an unarmed counter attack. “Assault” rifles (in quotes because, although they look like Military rifles, they are, in fact, normal semi-automatic weapons) also form less than 1% of gun related crimes for the simple reason that they are too large to conceal and are no more efficient at killing than the common Glock 9mm handgun.
Stricter background checks apparently do little as most shooters have no attributes that would be flagged in the computer or they simply stole someone else’s guns, thus bypassing the background check altogether. These are not opinions but facts gathered from data collected by the United States Government. So, if you know the facts don’t support your position there are two possibilities; you lack the mental capacity to reason or you have another motive.
So then, which law WOULD stop such shootings? For this we need to look at the often sighted inspiration for “common sense” gun control laws; Australia. In every single speech the president has made about gun control he has hailed the results in Australia (and sometimes Great Britain which is the same situation) but what did they do? Ban on “assault” rifles? Ban magazines? Limit the population only revolvers and hunting rifles? No. Australia’s gun control (and Britain’s) plan banned ALL guns and confiscated those already in the country.
Indeed, that would reduce gun violence as it is difficult to shoot someone without a gun however it is a poor example of gun control since the guns were outlawed completely, not controlled. This is the ultimate goal of such “gun control” measures as even a partial ban, all semi-automatic weapons, would not prevent mass shootings in gun free zones. Revolvers are just as lethal as semi-automatics. So then the only way to eliminate gun violence is to take away all of the guns and that, quite rightly, is impossible to accomplish in the United States and, by definition, diametrically opposite of “modest gun control laws” that the present pleaded for in his speech(s).
Facts have always been a problem for politicians.
Another, particularly irritating, statement from Obama was that millions of legitimate gun owners support these “common sense” laws, even going so far to ask if there was any one who “really opposed” these suggestions. He asserted the only “real” opposition was political and from gun lobbyists. This is also an old tactic; lying. Its not beyond reason that liberals truly believe the nonsense they espouse but one would hope the President would be better informed. Of course he is and so his comments must be actual lies. The National Rifle Association, the evil NRA, is supported in large part by common people. Traditionally conservative organizations don’t have the luxury of Federal funding (perhaps they should start shooting babies, that’s worth $500 million to the Federal Government) and as such get much of their revenue from members. No one would claim the NRA is not a force in Washington so they must have a fair amount of money.
Even the NRA, however, is not enough to stop gun legislation. Money can only buy so many congressmen. Still, as the president lamented in his speech, laws aren’t passed. Why? People do not want them. Ultimately congressmen are elected by people from their district or state. If it was an important issue to those voters they would vote for another candidate. Its that simple.
The reasons for this are varied, home defense, hunting, keeping the government honest, independence, a desire to actually obey the Constitution instead of using it for toilet tissue, etc. but the end result is a great many people who support the RIGHT to have firearms.
Aside from the innate support for firearms from normal Americans is the fact (as reported by the FBI) is that gun violence has been sharply declining for decades. Mass shootings are on the rise, but shootings OUTSIDE gun free zones has fallen dramatically. The president’s CNN chart reports the TOTAL firearm deaths including self-defense and police departments, not the less impressive crimes committed that involved firearms. Interestingly, the chart the White House/CNN used cited the Center for Disease Control for the data, not the FBI or ATF. This is, most likely, because only the CDC data would fit the president’s narrative.
Its natural to seek a solution to these highly publicized shootings, but that solution is not the removal of firearms, nor making them easier to acquire. Firearms, and the freedom to possess them, requires responsibility. Their enshrinement in the Constitution (2nd Amendment) was not casual nor accidental, it was a safe guard against tyranny and a protection of freedom. Banning firearms may make some people feel better, but would constitute an abandonment of our responsibilities as Americans. As Benjamin Franklin prophetically said; “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”