Op-ed uses Highland Park to call for gun control

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

The shooting in Highland Park was awful. We all know it was bad, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we wish it had never happened.

Unfortunately, wishes don’t come true like that. The shooting did happen, and now we have to deal with the aftermath.

So we shouldn’t be surprised to read op-eds with crap like this in them:

As a victim and witness to such a heinous act, it is hard not to get political, especially when it comes to assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines, background checks, and other measures. I believed in common-sense gun control measures before this mass murder, but now it is far more personal. Now, opposition to gun control is not just an intellectual disagreement, but something that I simply cannot — and will not — understand.

The simple truth is, guns are meant to kill. Guns, certainly AR-style firearms, cause immeasurable familial suffering from the loss of life and debilitating injury they cause. Yes, humans pull the trigger, but the availability of these firearms makes our country unsafe. We all should have a human right to remain free from being killed or maimed by weapons of war so that we can raise a family without concern for their safety.

Whenever a mass shooting occurs there are those who talk about a myriad of other factors other than gun control, such as mental health. Sure, we can beef up resources to treat those with mental health issues, but those resources not only place an enormous burden on the mental health-care sector but often do not put in place barriers to prevent the mentally unfit from owning a firearm. Red-flag laws that would help prevent such people from retaining a firearm are still being rejected by those who value guns over life. The facts don’t lie: when a federal assault weapon ban was in place the country was demonstrably safer.

I am no neophyte in believing that the politics over gun control is not complex and controversial. But if my story is of any benefit, it should motivate us to elect legislators who will vote to remove from the general population deadly weapons of war. For the sake of our children and future generations, we cannot let this senseless violence continue.

Written by someone who was at Highland Park, though a ways away from the shooting itself and who only saw the aftermath, this is an appeal designed to make people think that gun control is the only answer.

Yet, the author’s appeal misses a handful of important details.

For example, for all his claims about “assault weapons” and things of that sort, he fails to note that Highland Park already had a ban on such weapons, one that had been on the books for several years. It did nothing to stop this deadly attack, so why should we believe that a broader ban would?

Nor does he acknowledge that other policies we’re told are important if we are to prevent such attacks were also in place.

Illinois requires a license to purchase any firearm, yet that didn’t stop the alleged killer. He appears to have gotten the required FOID and purchased his weapons lawfully.

The author also fails to address how the state’s red flag law – a regulation often justified primarily as a tool for preventing mass shootings – failed to accomplish anything.

At the heart of the matter is the fact that the gunman was a broken, sad, and pathetic individual who lashed out violently and claimed innocent lives. Had he not had a gun, he’d likely have found another way to hurt as many people as possible. It’s not like no one has ever used something else to kill people at a parade.

So while I have no doubt the author was impacted by what he saw, his personal feelings don’t change the reality of what happened.