Gun Control Activists Can't Answer This One Simple Question
Writing at National Review, the indispensable Charles C.W. Cooke notes that for all their caterwauling about "sensible" gun policies, liberals can't seem to answer this basic question:
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.
In the wake of a tragedy, people often search for legislative solutions. "There oughtta be a law," as they say. But this gets it exactly wrong. In a world where dangerous people wish to do harm to the most vulnerable, law-abiding citizens should be able to protect themselves. For this, there is no tool more effective than a firearm.