This past week, a man killed his wife in Minnesota, traveled to UCLA in California, killed his former professor, and then himself. Authorities have found a list that named another person at UCLA that was targeted, but that person was unharmed.
Since the murder/suicide occurred in California, a gun-rights hostile state, there are the inevitable calls to “do something,” although exactly what is never fully explained, even when more gun-control measures are introduced in the various legislatures. And even then, it’s never enough.
Charles C. W. Cooke wrote the following in an article published in the National Review (excerpts follow):
As soon as the story hit the news, the usual suspects began cranking themselves up. Americans, they said, need to “do something.” It was time, they argued, for “more laws.” And the NRA? It was, of course, to blame.
Forgive me for being a broken record, but I have some questions in response to these reactions: Namely, “what something?”; “which laws?”; and “what, specifically, did the NRA do wrong here?” Rolled into one, these congeal into a single, simple inquiry: “What law — specifically — would have prevented yesterday’s shooting?”
I ask because, absent the total ban on firearms that gun-control advocates insist that they don’t covet, it is not at all obvious which rules would have stopped the perpetrator from carrying out his plan. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the shooter bought a 9mm handgun legally in Minnesota, passing a background check in the process; then, gun in hand, he killed a woman in that state; and, finally, he drove with his guns to California, where he killed both his professor and himself.
In the process, he both obeyed and broke a number of existing laws. In Minnesota, he followed the purchasing rules to the letter, and, because he had no criminal record, he was rewarded for his fealty. But after that moment he resolved to ignore whatever rules got in his way. In both Minnesota and California he violated the statutes that prohibit gun owners from carrying their weapons without a permit; at UCLA he violated a rule issued in September of 2015 that prohibits gun owners from carrying firearms onto campus; and, rather obviously, he violated the flat-out prohibition on murder that obtains in all 50 states. He was, in other words, entirely happy to follow the rules when it suited him, and entirely happy to break them when it suited him. He was, like most shooters, not much interested in the sanctity of the law.
Let’s take this one step at a time…
One of the current candidates for President has stated that she would support an Australian style of mandatory gun buyback to reduce gun violence. The idea is to outlaw the private possession of a firearm to reduce crime, i.e., a gun ban.
For all intensive purposes, this scheme would disarm law abiding people from a means to defend themselves. John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center has shown in multiple instances that “where bans primarily disarmed law-abiding citizens and only increased violent crime. Indeed, around the world, every time guns are banned, murder rates go up.” (partial quote from Report to the Parliament of Australia on “The ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community”, Page 8)
There’s also one other point that I want to make before moving on: Many of the same people that are calling for gun control are protected by armed bodyguards – elected leaders, entertainers, and socialites that have the means to hire or have provided to them armed protection. Why do these people feel that their lives are more important than the average person? Indeed, our lives are worth nothing to them, especially if losing our lives furthers their agenda.
The concept of laws not preventing crime, any crime, should not be lost on the reader of this post. No law written will prevent a person from committing a crime if that person wants to commit that crime. It also follows that banning guns will not prevent gun violence.
Washington DC and Chicago are two cities that have essentially banned gun ownership (or have made it extremely difficult to own a firearm), but post some of the highest violent crime rates. Gangs with guns are mostly the cause.
Other countries have banned guns, but are not immune to the effects of gun violence, especially by terrorists. France (the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan Concert Hall attacks) and India (Mumbai 2008) are but two instances of where nationalized gun control has failed.
Let me be perfectly clear: Banning guns, partially or totally, will not remove gun violence or violent crime. Likewise, people wishing to commit suicide will also find other means to die. All that banning guns will do is to remove a means for which people to defend themselves from the predators among us.