No, Gun Control Doesn't Stop Mass Shootings

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

In the wake of mass shootings, there is an inevitable call for more gun control. Hell, sometimes the mass shooting is ongoing and we’re told we need background checks and an assault weapon ban, even before the first facts of the incident are known.

Like I said, it’s inevitable.

Yet Denver Post columnist and former prosecutor George Brauchler has a different take.

We can only speculate about the impact our gun control laws have had on crime. My professional experience has been that most politically opportunistic, post-mass shooting legislation does not address what actually happened, and even those few laws that do, have not and cannot protect us from mass shootings. These are just the ones I have touched as a Colorado prosecutor:

On April 20, 1999, a 17- and 18-year-old attempted to detonate home-made explosives to set their suburban high school on fire and shoot survivors as they fled. The plan failed, but the teens, armed with four firearms–all legally purchased from gun shows —  entered their school, murdered 13 people and wounded another 24 before turning their guns on themselves.

One short-barreled rifle held a 10-round magazine that complied with the then-existing federal assault weapon ban. The killers sawed off two shotguns to illegal lengths to make them concealable. One used a TECDC9 handgun (capable of firing more than 30 rounds without reloading), illegally sold to them by two young adults. As a young prosecutor, I–along with Steve Jensen—convicted those men and sent them to prison.

For those unfamiliar, Brauchler is talking about Columbine.

Brauchler also was involved with the Aurora, CO theater shooting, and several others. In all of those, what we see are either zero reasons for a firearm to have been denied, even under expanded proposals, or people routinely breaking the law in the process of planning this kind of attack. He notes that after Columbine, the supposed “gun show loophole” was closed, but Aurora had still more bloodshed with only one fewer person killed but dozens more injured.

Now, let’s think about this for a second.

It’s not difficult to imagine that gun control having no impact on violent crime. After all, robbery, murder, rape, etc., can all be carried out with a knife, a hammer, a baseball bat, any number of other instruments than a firearm. Guns aren’t really required to hurt someone badly, even killing them.

But mass shootings require guns. Mass murder doesn’t, but mass shootings do.

Yet here we have someone who was involved in the prosecution of two of the most horrific mass shootings in living memory and he’s telling you that gun control did not and would not stop any of those killings.

It might be a good idea to take a moment and start looking and thinking about this a bit more.

What we do see happening in the future? Gun control doesn’t stop this kind of thing. We need a different approach. If not more armed citizens–the best choice in my opinion–then it needs to be something else. What it can’t be is gun control because, as Braucher points out, that doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot.

 

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Aug 03, 2021 9:30 PM ET
Aug 03, 2021 4:30 PM ET