We’ve had a bit of separation between the shootings in Kenosha and in Portland by now, enough that we can look at them with somewhat cooler heads. The two incidents, besides being videoed and taking place during tense “protests,” have almost nothing at all in common from what we’ve been able to tell.
Yet for one columnist, it seems a fine time to try to shift the conversation over toward gun control.
The killings on the streets of Kenosha, Wis., and Portland, Ore., by gun-toting, self-appointed ministers of justice bolster one of the main arguments made by gun control advocates: widespread access to guns leads to needless death.
In both cases, confrontations between political opponents quickly escalated, shots were fired, and people died. Further, the Kenosha shooting involved a semi-automatic “assault” rifle, in a state with an open carry law (though the 17-year-old shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, is one year short of being able to legally open carry in the state).
Yet the shootings have not sparked a fresh dialogue about gun control. We are not spending much time at all debating background checks, assault weapons bans or open carry laws.
Why aren’t we talking about guns? Chiefly, because the presidential candidates aren’t talking about guns. Donald Trump is busy blaming Joe Biden and Democratic mayors for failing to crack down on rioting and looting, while Biden is blaming Trump for fueling divisiveness.
Well, that’s part of it, but there’s more to the discussion than that. Much, much more.
For one, Rittenhouse used that gun in self-defense. While there may be some debate as to whether he was legally in possession of that rifle at that particular moment, none of that negates his right to self-defense. From the moment a scumbag tried to take that gun from him, he acted out of a desire to preserve his own life.
In Portland, however, we have a cold-blooded murder. An Antifa thug pulled out a gun and killed his ideological opponent. Sure, he claimed self-defense, but there’s been no mention of the victim having a knife as the shooter alleged and video showed police were on the scene incredibly quickly. It’s unlikely there was a knife and the police didn’t see it.
The two cases are completely different.
But shouldn’t the Portland shooting be all the reason we need to call for gun control? Why didn’t that change the conversation? What the author misses is that the people who actually care about the victim don’t blame the gun, they blame the thug who shot him. The only people who would blame the gun are the people who supported the shooter in the first place.
That’s not exactly a recipe for calls to repeal the Second Amendment.
Back to Rittenhouse, if he broke any laws, it’s more evidence that gun control doesn’t work anyway, so there’s really no reason for anti-gunners to bring it up regularly by any stretch. I mean, unless they enjoy learning how little gun control laws actually stop people from doing things.
At the end of the day, no one is talking about guns because there’s no reason to talk about guns. This isn’t a gun issue, nor has it ever been. It’s always been a people issue, where there is an issue at all.
Maybe more people are starting to understand that.