It seems inevitable that we’re going to be engaged in this particular round of the gun control debate for the foreseeable future. The media is being as tenacious as I’ve ever seen them on the topic, and even I have to admit that trotting out teen survivors is an effective way to dominate the news cycle. Whether we want to or not, we’re going to have this debate.
With that in mind, I started taking a look at the most popular anti-gun proposals out there. While I know damn good and well that none of them will work worth a flip, apparently others don’t, so I’m going to take a moment to explain just why they won’t work.
The Assault Weapon Ban
Any time there’s a modern sporting rifle involved in a mass shooting, the anti-gun activists and politicians trot out this old chestnut. They come up with an all-new, better-than-ever assault weapon ban.
However, we had an assault weapon ban for a decade. From 1994-2004, we existed under such a law. When time for the law came to either be renewed or allowed to sunset, proponents claimed it had worked. After all, they said, crime was down from when the law was first enacted.
But savvy folks noticed that it was nothing more than a continuation of a trend that predated the ban.
Further, in the years since then, crime has continued to trend downward despite the lack of a ban. In other words, the ban didn’t work. With that in mind, gun control activists have failed to tell us why this time would be different.
While I’m unlikely to support such a measure under any circumstances, there are others who might be willing to listen…if you can show the law will make a difference this time around. So far, no one has done that…because they can’t.
The truth is, it didn’t work last time and it won’t work this time because criminals don’t use so-called assault weapons as a general rule.
Further, let’s also keep in mind that to date, the Virginia Tech shooting is still the most deadly school shooting on American soil. The killer used a couple of handguns.
A determined psychopath will still find a way to maximize carnage.
Magazine Capacity Restrictions
While typically lumped in with assault weapon bans, several places are trying to push out a restriction on magazine capacity as a stand-alone aspect of their efforts. The claim is that with fewer rounds per magazine, the carnage will be greatly reduced.
On the surface, and to the uninitiated, that makes a fair bit of sense. After all, wouldn’t the 17 kids killed in Parkland be alive if the shooter didn’t have such high-capacity magazines?
[The shooter] went in with only 10-round magazines because larger clips would not fit in his duffel bag, Book said.
In other words, the killer only had 10-round magazines. A restriction on magazine size would clearly do nothing to mitigate against another Parkland. The killer was able to murder 17 high school kids in cold blood just fine without supposed high-capacity magazines. Restricting something he didn’t use is, well, ridiculous.
Raise The Age Limit To Purchase Rifles
Currently, the law says you have to be 21 to purchase a handgun, but only 18 to buy a long gun.
However, following Parkland, there are a number of people who want to raise the age limit on who can buy a long gun. After all, they argue, the killer purchased his firearm and he was just 19-years-old.
That’s true. But there are a lot of problems with this line of thinking. Most of those problems stem from a person’s right to defend themselves, a right some people dispute.
There is another point, however, that needs to be considered. Namely how such a law would have almost no impact on anything. You see, mass shootings are pretty rare, despite media rhetoric to the contrary. And what’s really rare are the number of mass shooters who might have been slowed down by this law.
In the past 35 years, there are only five cases where someone aged 18 to 20 used an assault rifle to carry out a mass shooting, Fox said.
That’s since 1983.
In other words, about the only people who would be impacted by a law like this are people who aren’t likely to commit a mass shooting. A proposal like this is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to a black swan-like event. That’s not how you make good, impactful laws.
Bump Stock Bans
Bump stock bans have been in vogue with anti-gun crusaders since the Las Vegas massacre. It’s not difficult to understand why, either. Las Vegas was unprecedented in its carnage.
However, Las Vegas is also the only time we’ve ever seen a bump stock used in a crime of any kind. As awful as it was, it too was a black swan-like event. It’s the only known case of a bump stock being used for anything like this, so why is everyone tripping over themselves to try and ban this now?
Further, as awful as Las Vegas was, I remain unconvinced it couldn’t have been much worse had the killer there not used a bump stock.
You see, bump stocks are for slinging a lot of lead downrange in a hurry. It’s not something you do for accuracy.
When the killer in Las Vegas began, he was firing into a massive crowd of people. He really couldn’t miss at that point and his bump stock let him fire a lot of shots. However, once people realized what was going on, they spread out, making it more difficult for him to score hits on people.
Had he used aimed fire, he may well have killed a lot more people. This is especially true since almost anyone can work a trigger pretty damn quickly even without an aid like a bump stock.
Further, banning bump stocks won’t stop someone from using bump fire to kill people. The same effect can be created with a rubber band or a belt loop. If you ban the stock, you simply force would-be killers wanting to use bump fire to use one of these other alternatives.
Those are some of the most popular gun control efforts out there, and a quick look at why they’re pointless. However, I don’t expect that to stop their creators’ efforts by a longshot. Facts tend not to dissuade the anti-gun zealots out there, not when it comes to firearms.
Still, we provide them anyway. After all, we’re not going to convince them, but we might convince someone actually listening the debate.