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 homicides, got 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.