Is tribalism preventing answers to mass shootings?

Glock Model 21" by Michael @ NW Lens is marked with .

If some gun rights activists believed for a moment that some bit of gun control would stop mass shootings and not lead to still more restrictions, I think many would at least consider it. After all, mass shootings generally lead to more and more calls for gun control in the first place, so stopping such shootings would benefit gun rights as a whole.



But, unfortunately, that’s not the case. People on this side of the debate don’t think gun control works. On the other side, they take a very different view.

Yet over at the Washington Examiner, writer Peter Laffin argues that the tribalism on the issue prevents any meaningful solutions.

I’d like to make a confession: I have little hope when it comes to solving the mass shooting epidemic. It has plagued our country since the Columbine massacre, which occurred during my junior year in high school. It has shown no sign of abating in the decades since. This is partially because fixing a problem of this magnitude requires fruitful discourse and consensus, of which we have neither. Indeed, our leaders seem interested in little except tribal posturing.

On one hand, liberals would have us believe they can wave a magic wand and “ban guns” in the U.S. entirely. This is the happy-talk of unserious people. The cat is out of the bag when it comes to guns in America. They are everywhere, and we can only track some of them. I have never heard a gun control proposal that wouldn’t exclusively benefit career criminals, whose guns are impossible to confiscate.

Nor have I heard a proposal from the Left that would address the most fundamental aspect of mass shootings: the fact that our culture consistently produces maniacs bent on wide-scale and indiscriminate murder. For an ideology obsessed with addressing “root causes,” the liberal fixation on guns in relation to mass shootings is curious. It is well and good to restrict the purchase of high-tech weaponry and implement universal background checks, but gun control won’t stop maniacs from discovering other ways to get the job done. Consider the domestic terrorist who drove his van through a Christmas paradelast year in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Mass murderers are a determined bunch. The fixation on guns often seems like an excuse to avoid examining the warped condition of the collective American soul.

For their part, conservatives usually bring nothing to the table in the way of ideas. They are roundly mocked by their opponents for offering prayers without solutions; this is not without cause. Authentic prayer inspires fresh insight and action. It is where the faithful encounter the living God, and where He breathes new life into them. Avoidance and inaction are the surest signs that authentic prayer is absent.


Laffin is, unfortunately, correct.

We know what the left is going to trot out when a mass shooting happens. I can predict with near-perfect accuracy just what arguments will be made and when. We all know that there will be a call for an assault weapon ban, even before we know what kind of weapon was used in the first place. We know that no matter what, we’ll see calls for red flag laws, magazine restrictions, and other restrictions in the aftermath.

And yes, we know that the right will offer pretty much nothing in response except those often-mocked “thoughts and prayers.”

Oddly enough, when they do, they prevent a lot of gun control efforts from going anywhere.

Take the aftermath of Parkland, as an example. While Democrats went to their go-to script of restrictions, the right started talking about school security. They talked about arming teachers and hardening our schools. They presented concrete ideas that, while not necessarily implemented even in Florida, made it clear that there were alternatives to gun control.

Laffin argues there are more general efforts one can take. I suggest you go and check them out. I’m not necessarily sure I agree with them, but I’d love to have that debate for a change.

The truth is that if we want to prevent gun control, we can’t just trust that we’ll win in the courts. We have to win with the people of this nation, and we can’t do that without offering solutions ourselves.


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