Gun bans are not the answer
In the wake of another mass shooting, the debate has, predictably, turned to guns.
That’s a good thing, because honest debate is needed to cut through the white noise and ascertain the truth about both guns, and, more important, why these massacres keep occurring.
Hopefully, both sides will shoot straight with the facts and aim for the moral high ground by respecting each other’s views.
But if the target remains those whom we can most demonize, we will have accomplished nothing.
To that point, several statements made in the wake of Las Vegas are unforgiveable. Commentator Keith Olbermann labeled the National Rifle Association a “terrorist organization,” which is akin to holding a beer company responsible for drunk drivers killing people.
Then we had psychiatrist Michael Welner on Fox News say that “CNN is going to have to answer for how they demonize gun enthusiasts and how CNN actually contributes to mass shootings” — which inexcusably deflected full blame from the sole person responsible: The shooter himself.
And a now-fired CBS executive had the gall to state, “I’m actually not even sympathetic because country music fans often are Republican gun-toters.”
Comments such as these aren’t just salt in the wound of victims — and all Americans, since we share this tragedy — but make both sides dig in further. Regardless of one’s position, those shameful statements merit our scorn.
Now on to the guns. Consider:
Excepting wars, the two greatest massacres on American soil did not involve a single gun.
The 9/11 attacks killed 2,996 while wounding 6,000. And Timothy McVeigh, the all American boy-next-door, killed 168 and injured 680 when he blew up the Oklahoma City federal building.
Someone as unstable as the Vegas shooter, hell-bent on killing as many as possible, will find a way to do just that — regardless of gun bans.
Unhinged people planning crimes of that magnitude will simply not be deterred by laws regulating how many weapons can purchased in a month, what types of guns can be bought, and how much ammunition they hold. Criminals, by definition, don’t abide by the law.
Gun bans won’t work for a simple reason: Math. Let’s assume that from this day forward, it would be illegal to manufacture any guns. That would leave at least 300 million in America, a stockpile from which a mass murderer could steal, buy on the black market, or purchase at gun shows.
Fact is, the Sandy Hook school mass shooter murdered his own mother (obviously a serious crime), and stole her guns (another serious crime) before he entered the school to commit his heinous act. Even Connecticut’s stringent gun laws couldn’t prevent that massacre.
Keep in mind that when the Columbine school shooting occurred — the first “big one” — the Clinton-era assault weapon ban was fully in place, thereby proving that such bans are ineffective.
Many common sense regulations are already in effect, but we can do better, from outlawing devices that transform weapons into a machine guns (bump stocks) to passing Sen. Pat Toomey’s bill mandating instant background checks for gun show and internet purchases.
Those opposing such measures hurt their cause in the eyes of the Great American Middle, who decide all elections.
The 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech claimed 32 lives, which, up to that point, was the nation’s deadliest shooting.
The victims were murdered by one student using just two handguns, as opposed to rapid automatic fire by numerous rifles from the killer’s advantageous nighttime perch.
An assault weapon ban won’t solve the problem.
Instead, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do the heavy lifting, starting with a hard look in the mirror.
We need to figure out what changed so radically from just a few short decades ago to now, as we’ve morphed from relative peace to regularly-occurring massacres.
We need to put partisanship aside, work together, and move quickly. If we don’t, the next tragedy will be upon us faster than a speeding bullet.