We know how the aftermath of any mass shooting–any high-profile shooting of any kind, actually–will go. Sometimes even before the shooting is over, someone will pontificate on how we need gun control. The media will accept this uncritically, never once pushing back on how we don’t know anything yet.
For example, they’ll call for an assault weapon ban, saying we must have this to put a stop to such shootings, and if it turns out the bad guy used a handgun or a shotgun? Well, who cares, right?
The connection is always that such shootings should result in gun control.
Take this recent piece from USA Today with the subtitle: “Despite school shootings, gun control remains a partisan issue, with many congressional proposals often languishing in committee.”
What follows, of course, is little more than a rehash of what we already know.
In the 10 years since 26 people – 20 children and six adults – were killed Dec. 14, 2012, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Congress has proposed dozens of gun control laws.
Most failed to pass or have simply languished in congressional committees.
In the 10 years between Sandy Hook and the May 24, 2022, shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people – 19 children and two adults – were killed, a total of 1,312 people have died in 231 gun-related mass killings in the U.S. That’s according to the USA TODAY/Northeastern University database, which tracks mass killings.
In those 10 years, three federal gun-related measures have taken effect. Only one was a bipartisan bill addressing gun safety.
- Background checks were included as part of a spending bill then-President Donald Trump signed in March 2018.
- Bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to be fired rapidly, were banned by the Trump administration in December 2018. Trump asked the Justice Department for the ban, and the department classified the devices as machine guns under federal law.
- A bipartisan gun safety bill was signed by President Joe Biden in June.
Yet the overall point seems to be that school shootings–and, by extension, mass shootings–should result in gun control.
The problem is, so many of these shootings turn out not to be failures of insufficient gun control but law enforcement or mental health failures.
Let’s start with Sandy Hook. This one isn’t on the cops, but this one also involves someone who murdered their own mother in order to obtain her guns, which he then used to kill innocent children. There’s really not much of anything you can do to stop someone who wants to kill people that badly.
Parkland, on the other hand, involved a person who reportedly had a history of domestic violence, violence that law enforcement there opted to overlook. If they hadn’t, he likely wouldn’t have been able to lawfully purchase his AR-15 in the first place.
We’ve got the alleged Colorado Springs Club Q killer who should have been facing felony charges–if not having already been convicted–for a bomb threat that followed him saying he wanted to be the next mass shooter.
Similarly, the alleged University of Virginia killer had been facing felony hit-and-run charges, only to see those charges reduced.
Then we have people like the King Soupers shooter in Boulder whose own family knew he was disturbed but did nothing to have him adjudicated and make sure he couldn’t have guns.
So no, I’m sorry, but this idea that gun control is the logical follow-up to shootings is something I’m not about to buy into. Especially when we can see so many places where the authorities could have stopped it, but didn’t.
Why should I give up my rights, my guns, just to cover someone else’s mistakes? I’m not doing it, nor should anyone else.
And the media needs to learn that gun control isn’t some magical solution.