The truth about mass shootings
After the awful mass shooting in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, the New York Times devoted a front page editorial for the first time since 1920 to a call to confiscate the “assault rifles” used by mass murderers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik from every American who owns one.
The Grey Lady did not just call for an assault weapon ban like the one that was in effect from 1994-2004 and had no measurable effect on public safety. The liberal giant actually demanded the confiscation of the 3.5 million such rifles already in the hands of American citizens, even though only a tiny fraction of these weapons are used in crimes. Recently passed gun registration laws in blue states like New York, Connecticut and California have failed miserably, as gun owners refuse to register their firearms. The 2014 FBI statistics show all rifles—of which the scary looking (to liberals) “assault weapons” are a subset—were used in 248 murders that year. Over 1,500 murders in 2014 were committed by knife attacks.
The New York Daily News, the nation’s fifth largest newspaper—a tabloid aimed primarily at blue collar Democrats—introduced “prayer shaming” to American discourse. It condemned tweets by conservatives expressing sorrow and offering prayers for the victims and their families as mere “platitudes.” Gun grabbers believe the only solution to the problem of violence in America is to pass laws that will take away rights from law abiding citizens while having no effect on violent perpetrators. To the authoritarian mind, it is most important that government do something even if mindless action can violate individual rights while producing no demonstrable increase in public safety. Liberals believe the tweets from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders saying, “Something must be done” and demanding “common sense gun laws” are not platitudes, but to their minds profound expressions conveying complex meaning.
One person’s loophole is another’s due process. Increased background checks will result in numerous false denials, and correcting these errors involves expensive litigation. Taking away gun rights from those on no fly lists has even Republicans citing the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuits forcing the FBI to allow those on the list to challenge their inclusion. Our constitutional scholar president should be ashamed of this idea.
Fifty-six percent of Americans are convinced that gun violence is increasing. In fact, the opposite is true, but only 12 percent of Americans are aware gun violence peaked in 1993 and has been cut in half since then, while gun ownership has increased dramatically. Similarly, the killing of police officers peaked in the 1970s and has been declining ever since. The long-term trend in America for decades has been decreasing rates of violent crime against both police and civilians with counterintuitive rising gun ownership and more states adopting “shall-issue” concealed-carry laws. Correlation does not prove causality, but the relationship between more gun ownership and declining gun violence is demonstrable.
Most mass murders are over in fewer than 10 minutes, faster than police response capabilities. More guns in the hands of civilians would do more than useless gun laws to prevent casualties. Training in active shooter scenarios for civilians and private security guards would help. The best way to reduce gun violence in the streets, however, is to end the War on Drugs. The best way to prevent lone wolf terrorism is to end the Global War on Terror. But don’t expect the Times, the Daily News, the cable news networks or most politicians to advance these solutions anytime soon. They are all in the fear business. Only citizens like us can demand liberty.