Charles C.W. Cooke points out that the specifics of the tragedies don’t seem to influence the recommendations offered in the immediate aftermath. In this case I think you’d have to admit that a knee-jerk “deport Muslims” is less idiotic than a knee-jerk “give us more gun control.” Dear God, if the reports are true their home was an “IED factory.”
(I)mplicit in every pro-gun-control argument is the assumption that all Americans secretly agree with the need for the president’s favored reforms but that a small majority [sic] is just too recalcitrant – or, perhaps, evil – to admit it. It is for this reason that so many debates on the merits of stricter regulation proceed from the premise that gun control obviously works, rather than from the presumption that we do not really know what we should do. This is a shame. Not only is there conflicting evidence about whether new laws do any good at all (my view: they don’t), but the hackneyed “more guns, more crime!” arguments that we hear repeated ad nauseam are pretty much absurd on their face. Over the past 25 years, Americans have bought more than 100 million new guns, and most of the 50 states have liberalized the laws that govern their purchase, possession, and use. And what has happened to the “gun-murder” rate? It’s been cut in half. (The crime rate has also dropped precipitously.) If we are to have an honest debate in this country, conservatives will need to accept that the vast number of firearms in circulation contribute to the America’s relatively higher rate of shootings, and progressives will need to accept that, beyond that obvious point, the relationship between the raw number of weapons, the laws under which they are regulated, and the incidence of crime is a lot more complex than is typically conceded.
We are not going to get that debate, of course. There is a good reason that Michael Bloomberg and his fellow travelers jump cynically upon every mass shooting and attempt to use it as a catalyst for their existing ideas, and that is that horror’s aftermath is the only time in which they can get the American public to seriously reconsider the status quo. To the champions of stricter regulation, calm and dispassionate analysis are enemies to be dispensed with, preferably in favor of chaos and disquiet and the hysterical pointing of fingers. There is little more irritating to the would-be knee-jerker than the man who points out that the remedies on offer are divorced from the ill being treated – or, for that matter, that the ill is declining in scale. For as long as Obama and co. can conflate the question “Do you want more gun control?” with “Are you upset about what just happened?” they are able to win the day. But, once the two are separated, they lose – and badly.
Fwiw all the firearms were purchased legally and would have remained so under the regulations commonly circulated since the event. (If early reports are accurate.)
Unless you’re going to violate the 4th Amendment (in addition to the 2nd) and go house-to-house, kicking in doors and confiscating firearms, there are going to be hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation in our nation. Wise to start your reasoning from that presumption.