There are no gun control lessons out of Rittenhouse trial

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of murder by a jury. Even before that, though, we know he was innocent of all charges because we watched the whole thing unfold on video. We knew he was innocent.

Now, though, Rittenhouse is a free man, but some are using his situation to try and advance gun control.

No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yet this isn’t the first op-ed I’ve seen that tried to make that case.

As the country awaits a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a New York state case that may create a federal constitutional right to carry guns outside the home, what lessons can the nation draw from the recent acquittal in Wisconsin of Kyle Rittenhouse and the convictions in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia?

The obvious first lesson is that no one would be dead, maimed or going to prison if the men in these cases had not possessed firearms or had just left their weapons at home. The man Rittenhouse maimed learned that his self-proclaimed constant gun carrying not only did not protect him or others, but simply added him to the victim count when he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse.

No, we didn’t learn any such lesson.

Sure, you can make the case that the guy Rittenhouse wounded wouldn’t have been hurt if he hadn’t pulled a gun on the kid, but if Rittenhouse hadn’t been armed, it would have been irrelevant anyway. After all, he’d have been killed well before he could have fired that particular shot anyway.

To claim that him being disarmed would have made anyone safer is insane…unless you’re bound and determined to defend the human scum to attacked him in the first place.

During the oral argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen on Nov. 3, a number of the conservative Supreme Court justices seemed unaware of a second lesson: The best empirical evidence shows that carrying guns outside the home substantially elevates the risk to the public. As my own research and 14 academic papers in the past four years alone have shown, the restrictions on gun carrying in states such as New York and California have reduced violent crime. Expanding the Second Amendment beyond its current scope of a right to possess a gun in the home would likely reverse this progress.

And yet, as violent crime soared in the 1990s, states expanded gun rights in the form of concealed carry, driving violent crime down.

I’m sorry, but unless you have an answer for that, I don’t really care what you have to say.

Further, I have issues with the methodology of any study that seems to claim causation out of, at best, correlation. The control groups aren’t remotely equal in these studies and they really don’t appropriately control for any extenuating factors, not that such a thing would be easy.

Regardless, though, I take issue with these studies, and not just because I disagree politically with what those findings say.

And frankly, while we talk about “expanding gun rights” all the time, we’re not really doing that. We’re not “expanding the Second Amendment beyond its current scope” or anything of the sort. We’re simply restoring the natural right to keep and bear arms where it should have been the whole time.

I know that’s kind of hard for an academic to understand–there are some positions so mind-numbingly stupid that you can only be educated into them, after all–but that’s simply how things work. Gun control isn’t going to make the world a better place. It didn’t before and it’s not going to this time around.

And when it comes to the Rittenhouse case, the only takeaway is that when you’re faced with a violent mob, you need all the firepower you can manage.