Despite claims, gun control doesn't stop mass shootings

Despite claims, gun control doesn't stop mass shootings
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Two mass shootings in California in a matter of days.

We’ve seen this kind of stacking of mass shootings before, and it’ll never be welcome. Part of what happens in the aftermath, even before we know anything about what happened, is the inevitable calls for gun control.

You see, we’re told that these horrific events can be prevented with gun control laws. Assault weapon bans are a perennial favorite.

Yet it’s important to realize one very important thing. There’s really no evidence that gun control prevents mass shootings.

he research, part of Santa Monica-based RAND’s Gun Policy in America project, has the nonpartisan goal of establishing basic facts about gun violence, legitimate gun use and gun laws. The idea is that those facts, in turn, can be used by people on all sides of the gun debate to craft rules that stem gun-related deaths. In 2021, the last year for which full data is available, nearly 49,000 Americans died from gun violence or gun-related suicide.

In their research, Morral and other RAND scientists track thousands of studies looking at how different types of gun laws affect everything from gun violence, such as homicides and suicides, to the price of guns and the legal use of guns, such as self-defense, hunting and sport shooting. Though such research is relatively new — in part because from 1992 to 2018 federal funding was not allowed to be used to collect gun violence data — RAND’s study of the studies has found some patterns.

But RAND didn’t find a lot of strong research into how laws prevent mass shootings. Though Morral said there is “limited” evidence that banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines curtails mass shootings, he was quick to point out that “limited” is “our weakest evidence rating short of ‘inconclusive.’”

Understand that RAND may be non-partisan, but they’re hardly unbiased. For them to acknowledge that there is, at best, only a small bit of evidence suggesting any kind of impact is huge. Their own internal biases would lead them to see evidence most would discount, yet even they are having trouble finding much of anything.

Then there’s the fact that both of these horrific mass shootings happened in California, the most gun-controlled state in the nation. It’s a state that has gun control laws that passed easily there that wouldn’t fly at the federal level and we all know it.

Yet we had two mass shootings that left a total of 18 people dead in a matter of days in this gun control Utopia.

In and of itself, that alone is evidence that gun control doesn’t prevent mass shootings. If such laws did, there’s little chance of seeing two such horrific shootings in such a short period of time in the state.

But we did.

We’ve seen it and we’ll likely see similar shootings there in the future. When that unfortunate eventuality happens, it won’t be because we have too few gun control laws or because the Second Amendment has turned into some kind of “suicide pact.”

It’ll be for the same reason it always has happened. Gun laws won’t stop it and there’s really no evidence suggesting they would.