AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Perhaps the most intrusive gun control measure being discussed these days is the proposal from Senator and presidential hopeful Cory Booker (D-NJ). Booker called for a slew of new gun control regulations, including a national licensing scheme, all in an effort to win the Democratic nomination with a base that is more and more in favor of gun control and feels that momentum is with them.
When a disgruntled worker entered a municipal building in Virginia Beach and opened fire, we all knew it was more than enough to spark up the dwindling gun control debate.
However, it seems that Booker wasn’t ready for that discussion based on his performance on Jake Tapper’s show.
“How would your plan have stopped this tragedy, if at all?” Tapper asked.
“You know that every single day in the United States of America, in the aggregate, we have mass shootings that go on in neighborhoods like mine,” Booker said. “We’re not helpless to stop this. This is a uniquely American problem … This idea that we are helpless to stop this, the evidence points differently.”
“I have a comprehensive plan that people say is bold, but I’ll tell you what, it’s not bold; it’s common-sense, evidence-based things that we can do to lower gun violence,” Booker added, pointing out statistics on gun violence.
“I’m sorry to interrupt — but you keep saying we are not helpless, so I’m saying, what would have prevented this tragedy?” Tapper asked. “What steps specifically would have stopped the massacre in Virginia Beach?”
Of course, the answer is, “None.”
The gunman in Virginia Beach used two .45-caliber handguns. Both were purchased legally over the last few years. There was nothing in the shooter’s background that would have barred him from purchasing any other firearms either.
All Booker’s proposal would have done is made the killer register his handguns, assuming he would have listened. Booker also mentioned his gun rationing proposal, but since the gunman purchased his firearms years apart, it’s safe to say that would be just as useless.
While there are a few cases where a gunman purchases a firearm for the explicit purpose of carrying out a mass shooting, there are many more where the gunman uses something he already owns or takes a legally purchased gun from the lawful owner. There’s no One True Path for how mass shooters get armed.
Further, it’s not like Booker is going to push for a handgun ban. Well, he might, but that argument is easily countered. The Heller decision was explicitly about a handgun ban which the Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional. I don’t see how a federal ban would somehow be more constitutional, especially when many consider the Court far more conservative.
Booker dodged the question for one very simple reason: Nothing in his proposal would address any aspect of this shooting, and he knows it.
So long as there are guns, there will be mass shootings. The problem is that there is something seriously broken in the psyche of people who commit these atrocities, and politicians don’t give a damn. Finding out why people commit acts of mass murder isn’t nearly as sexy as screaming to high heaven about why we need gun control.
The problem, of course, is that gun control doesn’t work. It doesn’t stop crime and, based on Virginia’s recent pushes for gun control, it doesn’t stop mass shootings either.