The state of California has extensive gun control laws, more than pretty much anywhere else in the nation. Despite that, though, they had several mass shootings over the span of just two days.
I mean, it’s almost like gun control laws don’t actually accomplish anything, you know?
Well, I’m far from the only one who thinks that. One of many who share that opinion is Amy Swearer from The Heritage Foundation, who wrote about it recently.
After every high-profile mass shooting, gun control advocates reflexively demand that we “just do something” about the problem. Invariably, that “something” means a very specific set of things, which can be summarized as a singular effort to impose California’s restrictive gun laws at the federal level.
But did anyone bother asking whether California’s “cure” for mass shootings even works in California before peddling it to the nation?
California’s 39.2 million residents comprise 11.8% of the U.S. population. Yet, according to data from the Mother Jones Mass Shooting Database, the state accounts for 20% (17 of 85) of the nation’s mass shootings since 2012, and 16.1% of its mass shooting fatalities.
No other state comes close to bearing as much responsibility for mass shootings as California. In fact, the nation’s second most populous state—Texas—accounts for only 8.2% (7 of 85) mass shootings since 2012, and 14.3% of mass shooting fatalities, despite having a polar opposite approach to gun policy.
While California’s government has spent the last 12 years imposing increasingly more restrictive gun-control measures on its residents, its mass shooting problem isn’t getting better. If anything, it’s getting slightly worse.
Between 2012 and 2017, 20% (8 of 40) of all mass public shooting incidents and 13.4% (48 of 358) of all mass public shooting fatalities occurred in California. From 2018 through mid-February 2023, the state was still responsible for 20% of all mass public shooting incidents, but its share of mass public shooting fatalities soared to a whopping 20.8% (58 of 279).
Isn’t that fascinating?
While people want to lash out at states like Texas for refusing to pass gun control after several high-profile shootings there, California still has a disproportionate number of mass shootings compared to its relative population.
What does that mean?
For one thing, it means the state’s gun control laws don’t actually do all that much to prevent mass shootings. Clearly.
Some will claim that the guns come in from other states, but if that’s the case, why don’t those other states have just as big of an issue with these shootings as California?
Or maybe, just maybe, the problem is something other than guns. Maybe the problem is something we haven’t really had a chance to look at because the aftermath of mass shootings tends to be little more than a renewal of the gun debate with no opportunity to discuss anything else.
You know, just putting that out there.
Look, it’s clear that California’s gun laws aren’t stopping these shootings. As such, there’s even less reason to consider them on a national scale, much less for individual states to consider them.
Mass shootings are an issue, but until we can get past this obsession with gun control, we’re never going to get to the root causes of them so we can put an end to them for good.