First, let’s look at the facts. In this latest shooting in California, the guns used were all purchased legally in a state that has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. They have bans on high capacity magazines. They have “assault weapon” bans. They have bans on most small handguns that could be easily concealed. Each firearm purchase must be made through a Federally Licensed Firearms dealer, and the purchaser must submit to a thorough county, state, and nation-wide background check. The purchaser must wait a ten day waiting period, as well as pass a written test on firearms safety. These are most of the “stricter gun control measures” that the anti-gun crowd wants to see imposed, nation-wide.
And they didn’t work.
Harsh gun laws didn’t stop the shootings in California. Or Connecticut. And the state with the absolute most restrictive gun control laws in the country, Illinois, is also the home of the gun-murder capitol of the country, Chicago. The laws don’t help there. And why is that? Well, simply put, criminals don’t follow laws. That’s why they are criminals. And insane people have this disturbing ability to act normal in public; often times charismatic. You don’t know they are crazy until they start shooting people or setting off fertilizer bombs full of nails at marathons.
So, what additional gun control do these anti- gun-rights folks think is going to end mass shootings? Well, so long as people have a way to buy guns, then, unfortunately, a crazy person is bound to get their hands on one eventually. Whether they purchase the weapon legally themselves, have a friend purchase it legally then give it to them (a straw-man purchase), steal the weapon, or buy the weapon illegally on the black market, they will still get their hands on the weapon.
The only way to stop just MOST of the mass shootings is a complete ban on legal guns.
This will never happen in America, nor should it. My point is only that an absolute ban and forced confiscation of all legally owned guns would be the only way to make mass shootings less likely, and even the most ardent anti-gun people aren’t even suggesting that. Besides, here’s the rub: mass shootings are the least common type of gun murder, or murder in general for that matter. You are far more likely to be stabbed or shot by a street criminal than gunned down in one of these rare but shocking and sad mass shooting events that garner national attention. Last year, Chicago had 100 gun murders by the end of April… more dead in four month, in one city, than by all the mass shootings in the rest of the US for the entire year combined. And that’s in the city with the most stringent “gun control” measures in the entire country.
So, while mass shootings might have a serious decline in the face of a total ban on legal firearms, this would have little effect on the real violence problem in America: the street criminals and the gangs. And these criminals would still have access to the tens of millions of illegal guns on the black market. Also, disarming the population would be an open door for an increase in personal, violent crimes. Mugging, assault, rape, home invasion… the less concerned criminals are of meeting effective opposition, the more brazen they become. You are 300 times more likely to be physically assaulted in Great Britain than in the US. Their street punks and hooligans know they can attack people without fear of armed opposition.
So, what can we do? What will make the mass shootings stop? We need to recognize that mass shootings are a uniquely American problem. There are other countries with high levels of gun ownership that don’t have citizens losing their shit and killing classrooms full of children several times a year. There is something wrong here. Is it media? Mental health? It can’t just be “access to guns”, or else Canada would have just as many mass shootings as we do. I don’t know how to keep mass shooters from getting guns. But I have some ideas of how we could all be safer.
Concealed carry permits and “gun free zones”
California is a “May Issue” state, meaning you can only be approved for a concealed carry permit by your county’s Sheriff by proving “good cause” for needing one. General self defense is not recognized as “good cause”, so basically, most people are denied a permit. But if someone does manage to get a permit, they are then hampered by “gun free zones” all over the place. Concealed carry could and should operate as a deterrent to criminals. But, rather than allowing licensed people to conceal carry their legal guns where ever they like, we instead put up signs literally announcing to criminals and would-be mass shooters that every law-abiding citizen under the imaginary reach of the sign is sure to be unarmed. Gun free zones are an illusion of safety. Whether it is a campus, an office building, a military base, or a park, the only people who will follow the instructions of the “gun free zone” or “no guns allowed” signs are people already obeying the law. They are not the people causing the trouble. But they are the people who will die defenselessly if a mad man with a gun shows up.
Now, I do believe that getting a concealed carry permit should require a more serious show of proficiency with a firearm than they do now, at least from my experience with CCP classes in North Carolina. And, like police, permit holders should have to qualify at a shooting range once a year. But, if a law abiding citizen does choose to become a concealed carry permit holder, they should be allowed to carry their concealed weapon wherever they want. Period. This hasn’t been tried yet in modern America, but it worked in the old days. The “wild west” wasn’t really that wild. Everyone carried a firearm, so you didn’t just ride into a town and start shooting people in the street. The entire town would shoot back. Could any of the 900+ lives lost to mass shooters in the past 7 years have been saved by an armed CCP holder? We don’t know, because almost every one of these shootings took place in a “gun free zone”. So much for the efficacy of signs and laws.