Why Mass Shootings Don't Automatically Change Gun Laws

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Anytime there’s a mass shooting, gun rights activists feel a special sense of dread. It starts with the loss of life but soon goes beyond even that. We know that on top of everything else, we’re going to have to dig in for a fight as gun control advocates jump on the opportunity to use the bodies of the slain as a soapbox before those bodies even reach room temperature.

But we fight anyway. We can’t afford not to fight, even before anyone knows any of the facts, because who knows what will happen if we don’t.

Yet that decision to fight even if we’d rather not have to has yielded some benefits. It helps to keep our gun rights.

Some, however, don’t seem to get that. They wonder why gun laws aren’t changing.

Byrne knows all these shootings are difficult to remember, and there is a chance some may have forgotten about the mass shooting that changed her life. That sad fact is why she is so perplexed why so little has changed with gun laws nationwide.

Even President Joe Biden has acknowledged how limited his actions on guns have been since taking office.

“I know it’s painful and frustrating,” Biden said during remarks at the White House in April following the announcement of limited executive orders that address ghost guns and red flag laws.

While the White House supports efforts in the U.S. Senate to vote on background checks and gun sales in the coming days, congressional aides tell Scripps’ National Political Editor Joe St. George that those votes will likely fail if they even take place at all.

Bipartisan negotiations have broken down, and Democrats can’t make changes on their own. Sixty votes are needed to pass anything consequential regarding guns in the U.S. Senate. That means 10 Republicans would have to join 50 Democrats in order for anything to happen, and, at the moment, the votes aren’t there.

There are a number of problems. One of which is that far too often, the solutions proposed wouldn’t have actually had any impact on the shooting in question. Other times, the proposal is superficial, such as trying to ban “assault weapons” when most mass shootings are carried out with a handgun, a weapon that can be just as deadly inside of a building.

Second, there’s the simple fact that even those who might be open to taking a step or two have no reason to trust gun control supporters. They call for a few “common-sense solutions” and then if they get them, they start pushing for a few more. They never say “this is enough. We’re good.” Any agreement or compromise will be short-term. They’ve smelled the blood in the water and will expect you to give up ground to them indefinitely.

So, we don’t.

The big reason there’s no movement on gun laws after mass shootings, though? It’s that you can’t legislate this problem away. We need to get under the skin of these shooters and come to understand precisely how they became this kind of person, the kind that slaughters their fellow man wholesale. We need to understand their motivations and rationales. We need to get inside their heads and know exactly how this happened.

Then we need to start working to make damn sure it never does.

You do that, you’ll stop mass shootings and never need a single gun control law to do it. The problem is that no one with the power to do it has any interest in trying.