To start to do something about the horror, the pain, the awfulness of mass-murder terrorism in the United States, it would help if we focused more on real fixes instead of gun control. Some believe the instruments of evil are the evil themselves and here is what happens: President Obama advocates laws that would likely accomplish zip as his rhetoric puts record numbers of guns on the streets.
“Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone,” said the New York Times in a data-driven story that quoted one financial analyst as echoing the sort of thing dozens of others have underlined — that Obama is the best gun salesman the country has ever seen.
Whenever this president speaks of guns, people rush out to retailers before new laws get in the way. Look at monthly tallies of firearm purchases and it’s easy to believe an estimate that 100 million guns have been sold during his administration. He is not the only factor, obviously, but he has definitely helped, and even if each and everyone of his gun-control proposals became law and were as effective as he dreams they would be, they would not begin to undo what he has done.
In fact, they would do next to nothing. For instance, he wants more and better background checks, and along with most Americans, I am more than willing to go along. But we live in a country where there are 300 million guns and getting hold of one is not a taxing proposition despite the many laws that already exists at the state, local and federal level.
He would also like to forbid gun purchases by people whose names end up on a list of the worrisome. They, too, could get guns easily and the last thing we need is a precedent of denying rights because of a government list.
Obama wants a ban on assault weapons, and OK, go ahead, but this is a fraud. Assault weapons do get used in mass murders -- one was used in Orlando -- but there are other rifles with the same capacities. It is also the case that the number of killings by all rifles and shotguns, including assault weapons, are no more than the annual killings by swinging fists and kicking feet.
Guns obviously facilitate killing, but the overriding issue in gun homicides is culture; Russia, with far fewer guns per capita than the United States has four times the murder rate.
Gun limits ordinarily have little if any effect. Some say Australia is proof to the contrary without noting a major part of its program was reimbursed confiscation. We’re going to try that here? England banned handguns and saw homicides go up over the next five years. Finally it improved police protection, things got better, and here is where Obama should look.
From 1993 until today, gun homicides in America have dropped by half. Why? A major cause was almost certainly more cops on the beat and more sophisticated policing. Obama does not seem to have learned anything from that. He has in fact repeatedly castigated our cops as racist, and as analysts such as Heather Mac Donald of Manhattan Institute have shown, cops appear ever more worried about the consequences of proactive law enforcement with the consequence of violent crime in our cities going up again.
The Orlando shooting was horrific, and much can and should be done both in fighting radical Islam abroad and better protecting ourselves from it here, and in combating violent crime generally. But there are also ways of making things worse while achieving little.