Everyone wants mass shootings to stop. Everyone sane, at least. They’re terrible events that probably should unite all Americans, if only they weren’t politicized quite so quickly, often before we even know anything. Invariably, someone wants to pass some new law that really won’t solve anything but will make life that much more difficult for we ordinary gun owners.
However, in Iowa, a recent poll suggests that folks in that state understand just how useless those laws are.
A majority of Iowans believe increased controls on gun purchases won’t reduce mass shootings, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.
Fifty-six percent of Iowa adults say additional controls won’t lead to fewer mass shootings. Forty percent believe stricter controls would reduce them. Four percent aren’t sure.
Poll respondent Joi Schwery, 43, a clinical nurse and paramedic from Panama in western Iowa’s Shelby County, said she believes violent people would still find a way to illegally obtain deadly weapons.
“Obviously, the majority of gun owners who obtain them legally are not going around and shooting a lot of people,” said Schwery, a political independent and a gun owner who said she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
The Iowa Poll comes amid a national debate over gun control that comes on the heels of two high-profile mass shootings: 26 killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5 and 59 dead and more than 500 injured at a Las Vegas concert on Oct. 1. Earlier mass shootings included 49 killed and 53 injured at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016.
The poll found that a large majority of men (63 percent) believe that stricter laws on gun purchases won’t reduce mass shootings. But women are almost evenly divided, with 49 percent saying stricter controls wouldn’t reduce them, while 47 percent say they would.
What those who support these laws fail to realize is that, even in the best of circumstances, the genie is already out of the bottle. Assuming that new laws would somehow stop a maniac forget that there are already so many of these firearms in circulation that new regulations are unlikely to do much of anything.
For example, the Las Vegas killer had accumulated guns for years, passing every background check thrown at him. There’s absolutely nothing that’s been proposed that would have stopped him from killing scores of people from that hotel window. Even the bump stock ban that’s been proposed would have done nothing, mostly because a bump stock isn’t the only way to bump fire.
It sounds like the good people of Iowa–or at least most of the 802 people surveyed–get it. They understand that our sacred rights being trampled doesn’t make us any safer. At best it simply lets politicians pat themselves on the back for doing good work without actually having to solve any real problems.
The roots of mass shootings stem from something far more than firearms. It comes from a failing in our mental health system to identify and treat these seriously unbalanced individuals. It’s not the weapons and it never has been.