In the wake of the mass shooting in Lewiston, a lot of people are saying the issue is that we don’t have certain laws in place.
This is par for the course. This is what we always see in the wake of such a shooting anywhere in the US. It’s also generally the same handful of laws they want to see pushed.
Yet almost invariably, all those laws are on the books in California. If the laws were really what was needed, we wouldn’t see mass shootings there at anywhere near the numbers we might expect elsewhere.
It’s just too bad that those laws reportedly haven’t prevented them.
Despite boasting some of the nation’s most stringent gun control measures, California leads the United States in the number of mass shootings between 1982 and 2023. The state has recorded 26 mass shootings during this period, more than double the 13 incidents reported in the next two states, Texas and Florida, combined.
California’s gun control laws include universal background checks, an assault weapon ban, and limitations on high-capacity magazines. Yet the data challenges the assumption that such strict regulations effectively reduce mass shootings.
Experts are questioning the efficacy of the state’s gun control measures, highlighting that the laws have not produced the intended decline in mass violence. The statistics have ignited discussions among policymakers, urging them to reconsider the effectiveness of gun control as a solitary approach to curbing gun violence.
Some critics argue that the state’s high numbers point to the limitations of gun control legislation. They contend that focusing solely on gun restrictions may not address other contributing factors such as mental health, socioeconomic conditions, and community environments that also play a significant role in mass shootings.
Now, let’s understand some limits to this report.
Namely, this is about the total number of mass shootings, not per capita. That’s important because California is the most populated state in the nation. Comparing raw numbers from there to many other states may give a misleading picture.
However, the only other states named are Texas and Florida, which happen to be the next two largest states by population, and neither of them are half the size of California.
As such, the fact that there are twice as many mass shootings in California than you see in the next two largest states has got to be more than a little troubling.
Especially if you’re a proponent of California-style gun control as a solution to mass shootings.
I happen to agree with the idea that the focus on gun laws over other possible interventions is part of the issue. I’ve long harped on the need to focus on the roots of so-called gun violence, in part because it’ll also solve other kinds of violent crime as well. Gun control is a distraction from that discussion.
That’s especially true with mass shootings.
Take out the gun and you’ve still got someone who wants to slaughter innocent people by the dozen. There are more ways to do that than with a firearm. Remove the gun and they’ll still try to do it.
If you solve the issue at a deeper level, you solve the problem regardless of the implement used.
California hasn’t bothered to do that and we see the results.