Op-ed railing about guns misses key fact in mass shootings

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This past weekend was a busy one. Two days, two high-profile mass shootings. One in a Buffalo grocery store, the other in a church in California.

To say that op-ed writers are going to be busy for the next few weeks is putting it mildly.

However, while they’ll make a big deal about gun laws, there are other factors they’ll completely miss, such as this one from USA Today.

A year to the day after our coupon expired, a 20-year-old gunman would mow down 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Saturday, an 18-year-old gunman shot 13 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in a predominantly Black neighborhood, and 10 of them died. Two mass shootings happened even as I wrote this column – at a church lunch honoring a Taiwanese pastor in Laguna Woods, California, and at a flea market in Houston.

The mood has become increasingly violent and frightening over the past few years, with inflammatory policies, language and attacks targeting immigrants and people of color coming from Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson and many others.

It should be no surprise that hate crimes are at a 12-year high, according to the FBI, or that Attorney General Merrick Garland says the two most lethal motivations for violent domestic extremists are racial and ethnic, “specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.”

Now, understand that I have no truck with any kind of racism. It’s all idiocy; the idea of disliking people based on superficial features is beyond stupid.

And I don’t disagree that the mood has become far tenser over the last few years, though I’d point to far different examples than mean words from people like Tucker Carlson.

However, let’s talk about the mass shootings the author mentions.

First, let’s dismiss Houston. Why? Because this was apparently a gunfight between two different parties, not the kind of thing people typically think of as a mass shooting. While it’s not a good thing, the solution here is going to be different than Buffalo or Laguna Woods–though, admittedly, Laguna Woods doesn’t really qualify either but work with me here.

After all, both of those are more in line with what people think of as a mass shooting. Do you want to know something else about both of those? They both happened in heavily gun-controlled states.

Both California and New York have fully embraced gun control. They heavily restrict what kind of guns you can buy and are both “may issue” for concealed carry–at least for now. Both states even have a law in place requiring a background check for ammo purchases, though New York’s system hasn’t been set up as of yet.

If all that gun control didn’t help, why should any of us believe more will do anything any different?

“Oh, but we need an assault weapon ban,” someone will chime. “Then these kinds of things couldn’t happen.”

Yet, as a friend reminded me on Twitter earlier today, both Columbine and the North Hollywood Shootout took place during the time when there was a federal assault weapon ban in place, so I’m not at all confident that any restriction will change a thing.

Especially since it doesn’t take a 30-round magazine to kill a pile of folks.

The truth of the matter is that while everyone is tripping over themselves to scream about gun control, they’re purposefully ignoring that it was gun control that failed in both of these cases.