Gun control, mass shootings, and why it doesn't work

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

While mass shootings only account for less than one percent of all shooting fatalities–real mass shootings, mind you, not the Gun Violence Archive’s definition of them–they do remain a problem. It’s not so much the number of lives they claim, but the terror they inflict on the rest of society.


However, in a recent op-ed, some guy named Cam Edwards–you ever heard of this guy?–brings up some very valid points about mass shootings. He was talking about the Greenwood Park Mall shooting, where Elisjsha Dicken stopped the killing before it really got going.

Here’s the part I want to talk about:

Dicken’s heroism is inconvenient to the gun control crowd because his actions pose a real-world counterpart to their simplistic argument that we can ban our way to safety; that there’s some magical set of regulations that, if put in place, will prevent committed killers from carrying out their heinous attacks.

That may be a comforting fantasy for some, but it defies both logic and reality.

According to the FBI’s recent report on active shooter incidents in 2021, the state with the tightest gun regulations in the country was also home to the most attacks. California had six active shooter situations last year, as defined by the FBI, despite hundreds of gun control laws on the books (including an “assault weapons” ban) that impose draconian restrictions on law-abiding citizens’ ability to purchase, possess and carry firearms for self-defense. These laws haven’t prevented active shooting incidents, obviously, but they’ve greatly curtailed the ability of typical Americans to protect themselves and others from one of these cowardly murderers.


Note that Cam is careful to use the FBI’s determination on what is a mass shooting and not the anti-gun crusaders’ preferred definition.

California had six mass shootings in 2021. Six.

All that despite the plethora of gun control laws on the books there already, many of which were implemented specifically to prevent mass shootings. Clearly, they didn’t work.

And why would they?

Mass shooters are different than other killers. They’re not violent felons who finally go too far. Not usually, anyway.

No, they’re violent people who manage to keep just enough of a lid on things until they explode. That explosion claims way too many collateral lives.

Yet they’re rarely arrested and convicted of any prohibiting offense prior to that explosion.

Even all of California’s much-celebrated gun control–gun control specifically crafted to stop mass shootings–will never stop these killers because they simply are able to get around all of these protections. New York decided to restrict so-called assault weapons, so the Buffalo killer went around the law, for example.

Look, what people need to understand, though, is even if gun control could do all the things it says, a mass killer will still find a way to murder as many people as possible. I remember one case where a guy killed his entire family with a dumbbell.


So it’s not difficult to imagine that a mass shooter could still kill plenty without any of the guns people want to restrict. The Carthage nursing home shooting, for example, claimed eight lives with a revolver, a shotgun, and a .22 pistol.

Mass murder only requires a cold heart determined to take lives. If California can’t stop them with all their gun control, as Cam noted, then maybe it’s time to admit that you never will stop them.


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