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Why More Gun Laws Cannot Prevent Mass Shootings

The pattern is predictable. A bad person takes a gun and shoots people, killing and wounding many. Before the dead are cold, the standard-bearers for civilian disarmament trot out their new legislation that will, they guarantee us, “help stop this terrible tragedy from ever happening again.”
Here’s the problem. They said that after the last tragedy and subsequent round of restrictions on firearm owners. And the tragedy before that. And the tragedy before that.
The most recent bandwagons for the civilian disarmament crowd is the terrible tragedies in a Texas church (26 dead) and in Las Vegas (58 dead.) The horror is unimaginable. No rational person can even begin to comprehend the mind of someone wanting to kill and maim so many innocent people.
These shootings rub very uncomfortable facts in our society’s collective face.
  1. The Las Vegas killer had no criminal history. Not for violence, not for anything. Police had no idea this man would do such a terrible thing.
  2. The Las Vegas killer obeyed every legal requirement, including repeated background checks, when he obtained the guns he used to such despicable effect.
  3. The Texas killer, a man with a long history of violence, should have been prohibited from owning firearms but the system failed – again.
  4. The Texas killer’s murderous rampage was stopped by a legal civilian firearm owner, an NRA instructor with a personally-owned AR-15.
Is the lightbulb glowing yet?
No law on planet Earth can stop these sorts of killers. Not one.
The anti-gun crowd hates hearing that. It flies in the face of their core belief – that if we just pass enough laws, we can stop these tragedies from occurring.
That brings up the one fact their core belief cannot handle, and therefore must reject: Laws only affect those willing to obey them. Criminals, by their very nature, are not affected by them.
The Criminal Code of Canada is a very thick document. All those laws don’t prevent individuals with bad intent from breaking them – a fact our overflowing prisons sadly confirm.
Don’t get us wrong, please. What happened in Texas and Las Vegas is terrible. It’s utterly beyond the comprehension of any calm, rational human being.
Yet it happened.
There is one simple explanation for why we cannot understand people who commit such horrors, and that is because we would never do that. Not the staunchest anti-gun advocate. Not the most ardent gun owner. Not one of us would do that, ever.
As a result, we cannot comprehend, let alone understand, how someone else could. So those seeking simplistic solutions attempt to pass more laws to harass the people who are of no danger to anyone. And, of course, more restrictions on guns that “look bad.”
Our legislatures occupy themselves with their busywork because, even though these new laws are just as useless as the last round, at least they’re seen to be doing something. And doing something always feels better than doing nothing.
However, before the next round of legislative insanity (doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results) is passed into law, let’s ask three pertinent questions.
  1. What is the goal of the legislation? Do the measures contained within this legislation achieve that goal?
  2. Is there real evidence to back up those measures? If not, why not?
  3. Is there a better alternative?
We understand the desire of anti-gun advocates to stop these killings. That’s a goal we all share, and for the same reason. The senseless killing of innocent people horrifies us beyond measure.
Nobody hates these tragedies more than lawful gun owners. We are the scapegoats for the anger, the rage, the frustration and powerlessness everyone feels in the wake of these tragedies.
However, banning guns is not the answer. It’s a convenient band-aid on a much deeper societal problem. Anyone who believes in these Pollyanna solutions might as well reach for the pixie dust and unicorn poop too. Simply put, it’s like banning cars because someone drove drunk and killed someone.
You can’t stop alcohol-fuelled dangers by banning cars and similarly, you cannot stop mass murders by banning guns… or box cutters, or fertilizer, or diesel fuel, or chlorine, or jet planes, or flammable liquids. The tool is never the problem.
The human being controlling the tool is the problem.
Until we deal with the underlying issues that cause people to go on these terrible murder sprees, we will never stop them, no matter how many anti-gun laws we pass.

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