Shooting in Japan offers lesson on gun control futility

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI:cafe" by [puamelia] is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED.

The nation of Japan is one we’ve talked about before. They have extensive gun control laws and few homicides. For many, those two facts are linked, but I disagree, as I’ve noted previously.


Recently, they had a mass shooting, one the American media declined to offer much coverage of.

Now, they narrowly avoided another, though, by some standards, it still counts.

And yet, no one is going to be able to find a single way gun control could have prevented it. After all, it was on a military gun range.

A Self-Defense Force member was arrested Wednesday after allegedly killing two other personnel with a rifle at a Ground Self-Defense Force shooting range in the city of Gifu. Another victim was seriously injured.

The 18-year-old male suspect — who is a new GSDF recruit — was arrested at the scene for attempted murder. He admitted to the allegations, saying there was “no denying” that he had shot the victims, investigators said. The suspect is being held at a Gifu Prefectural Police station.

The incident marks the first fatal shooting at an SDF facility in nearly 40 years.

Now, let’s understand that there’s no amount of gun control possible that would have prevented this, even if everything worked perfectly. After all, this was a military gun range. You need those to train troops on how to use their weapons. No simulators will be the same thing.

If the military in a heavily gun-controlled country like Japan can’t prevent something like this, what are the odds that universal background checks would?


My hope–though, admittedly, I know it won’t happen–is that people will finally wake up to the idea that rules and regulations won’t stop tragedies from happening. They won’t actually stop bad people from doing horrific things to other people.


If we want to stop that, we need to understand why people do this and what we can do to guide them away from this kind of thing. Prevention of violence doesn’t just stop so-called gun violence. It’ll help stop all violence. It won’t matter what tools are available–there are always weapons available to the truly dangerous–because they won’t want to hurt anyone.

Sure, there will be exceptions, but if we can reduce the violent urges or the lack of control over them, then isn’t that a win?

Two people being killed at a Japanese Self-Defense Force gun rage should show that no amount of rules will stop it. Undermining the psychological mechanisms that cause people to do things like this, though, can.

Unfortunately, we’re too busy discussing gun control to learn the lessons from Japan.

Instead, this will slip out of the news cycle and vanish without a second thought because it’s inconvenient to too many people.

It really appears they don’t care about doing anything to deal with these kinds of events other than curtailing our rights. They don’t want to stop violence, they just want to stop you from exercising your right to keep and bear arms.

But you’re not shocked by that.

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