Mass shootings: The unicorn gun control policy as the magic solution

· August 5, 2019  
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Inevitably after a mass shooting, the discussion turns to the weapon. Well, if we can’t identify this unique profile of evil mass murderers before they strike, what if we ensured they never got a gun?

That certainly is a laudable goal. After all, we all want to make sure that bad guys or those who are mentally unstable don’t have access to a gun — or any other weapon. But show me the piece of legislation that would prevent most of these attacks.

It’s clear that the advent of social media is fueling a copycat mentality, which is why so many of them are now writing “manifestos.” There is no doubt that if none of these people got any notoriety, the copycat mentality would be limited, but how is that feasible with today’s technology?

Leftists would argue that if they were allowed to pass some magic gun bill, it would deny these people the means with which to commit these acts. But they need to consider the following:

  • Violent crime and murder have dropped precipitously, almost miraculously, since 1993. This is probably the only positive social trend we’ve enjoyed in recent years. This period coincided directly with the trend of loosening of gun laws in most states, particularly right-to-carry laws. In 1993, fewer than 30 percent of Americans lived in right-to-carry states; now that number has grown to 70 percent. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, there are now 17.25 million people who hold concealed carry permits, a 273 percent increase since 2007. Violent crime, including from gun homicidesgot cut in halfwhile the number of guns owned has increased over 60 percent since the 1990s. While this doesn’t categorically prove that more guns equal less crime, it certainly refutes the thesis of the Left that more gun control is the answer.
  • Over the past few years, after two decades of a steady decline in murder, violent crime has risen in some major liberal citiesdirectly after they enacted stricter licensing and background checks, “assault weapons” bans, and magazine capacity limitations. Meanwhile, most other jurisdictions continue to experience a drop in crime.
  • While the mass shootings are shocking, any public policy debate must look at crime and gun violence in totality. While the rise in mass shootings is devastating, we should not lose sight of the fact that in 1993, there were 24,530 homicides, compared with 17,284 in 2017, despite the massive growth in population. The homicide numbers in most parts of the country are still historically low, even factoring in the mass shootings.
  • The Left will want to focus on AR-15-style rifles in particular, but even in 2017, with the worst mass shooting ever, only 403 of the 15,129 homicide victims died from a rifle shot, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting [table 8]. Almost four times as many people died from knife attacks, and 696 died from fists or other physical “personal weapons.” The overwhelming majority of murders were obviously from simple handguns, which no legislation will remove from the streets.

Most of those murders are caused by career criminals in the daily gang and inner-city warfare taking place in cities like Chicago and Baltimore. Particularly in Chicago, “a substantial portion of the city’s violent crime” is perpetrated by gangs working for the Mexican cartels empowered by our open border, according to the DEA. That is a much bigger public policy issue with much easier answers.

In my hometown of Baltimore, we have stricter rules than anything Democrats realistically want to enact at the federal level. Remember, Maryland requires a full license, not just a background check, just to own a gun in one’s home and not carry it. Yet gun violence in Maryland is soaring. In addition, following Sandy Hook, Maryland enacted a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and banned the sale of 45 commonly owned semi-automatic rifles that have been used in some of these mass shootings.

It’s simply not credible to support letting gun felons out of jail under the guise of “criminal justice reform,” loosening sentencing of known criminals, refusing to lock up any violent juvenile, such as the Parkland shooter, handcuffing the police, and encouraging sanctuary cities – but then suddenly claim a magical, gun-based solution to the vexing problem of first-time mass murderers. Liberals refuse to get tough on the elements of crime that drive most homicides in this nation, and in fact want looser standards for criminals, wishing at the same time to strip law-abiding citizens of the right to arm themselves. Many of the major cities in this country stand as a testament to this point.

The soft-on-crime crowd can’t have it both ways. They can’t seek tougher laws on guns while seeking lenient laws on the violent criminals. They can’t promote federal policies that incentivize or bully states into putting more names in a NICs database while promoting policies that encourage states to lock up as few criminals as possible. The entire criminal justice “reform” movement has created a culture, pressure, and incentive for cops and county governments to be as lenient as possible on incarcerating juveniles, the exact opposite of the cultural pressure from the past two decades.

This is why we need to focus on stopping violence in totality, not just one form of it, especially when we first need to learn the source of the trend. To virtue-signal about guns and Trump as a white supremacist while not only ignoring the homicide problem but promoting policies that will lock up fewer murderers is no virtue at all. It’s merely signaling to the media to further divide the country rather then pursuing commonsense solutions based on rational thought.

If “doing something” is limited to releasing criminals from jail while locking up the guns, it’s better to do nothing at all.

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Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.