Another atrocious shooting over the weekend. Unsurprisingly, it has already led to more calls for gun control. But here’s the grim reality. We’re still waiting to find out details about what might have motivated the animal who committed this heinous crime, but we do know that the victims here had one major factor in common with the victims of so many other mass shootings: They were unarmed.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival was supposed to be gun-free. In fact, guidelines showed that attendees couldn’t bring in so much as a pocket knife, under a prohibition of “any kind of weapon.” There were metal detectors and screening points set up to keep weapons from getting in, but law enforcement says that the shooter found a way around it.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said that the suspect used a tool to cut through a fence near a creek area outside the festival grounds to get a “long-barreled rifle” around the security measures.
Efforts to keep weapons out of places where people just want to have a fun Sunday afternoon with their families are undoubtedly well-intentioned. Indeed, it would be wonderful if nobody even had to think about the issue. The problem is that efforts to keep weapons out of public places don’t work against those determined to disregard or outfox them.
When “no weapons” rules and signs are disregarded, when fences are cut and metal detectors are circumvented, we’re once again back to the reality that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Fortunately for the countless others who might have been hurt or killed, good guys with guns — police — were nearby and were able to neutralize the threat in a matter of minutes, but not before four people were killed and more wounded.
The question for those who want to use this as a springboard for their gun control agenda remains the same: A weapons-free policy didn’t keep these people safe from an armed criminal at a contained event in a state with stringent gun laws. Why should we ever believe that more gun control on a nationwide level would do any better?