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Lewis Morris / October 26, 2016

Stop Trying to Blame Gun Laws for Violence

The New York Times fails to make the case concerning mass murders.

Standard leftist dogma is that stricter gun control laws and restricted access to guns and ammunition will reduce firearms-related deaths. Honest statistics from objective sources have yet to produce data that supports this viewpoint, but that hasn’t stopped the Left from pushing anti-gun rhetoric and legislation on the state and federal level.

Democrats have used virtually every mass shooting in the last several years as a political springboard to further their anti-Second Amendment aims, but the facts keep getting in their way. Even The New York Times had to admit in a recent screed on mass shootings that their reportage couldn’t make any substantive connection between gun murders and lax gun laws. This wasn’t for lack of effort.

The several-thousand-word exposé is comprised mainly of anecdotes of numerous gun murders, and they are designed to appeal to our baser emotions, not to treat us to a reasoned, factual argument.

In examining 130 mass shootings, the Times found that in more than half of those cases, “at least one assailant was already barred by federal law from having a weapon … but nonetheless acquired a gun.” When factoring in those who ran afoul of state and local gun laws, the Times found that 64% of the shootings in its investigation involved at least one person who violated an existing gun law. Of the remaining cases, 40% never had a problem with the law and could have obtained a gun legally even under the strictest of legal conditions.

What they didn’t mention is that 100% of those killers violated laws against murder.

It’s of little doubt that the Times reporters wanted to use these stories to present a case for greater gun control, but they have unintentionally proved what many level-headed people already know. The way to reduce gun deaths is not to restrict law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. Tougher gun laws are no guarantee that a potential killer will be deterred from committing a crime. (In fact, mass shootings are almost always perpetrated in “gun free zones,” where only victims are disarmed.) Nor can laws anticipate a traditionally law-abiding citizen suffering a severe mental break that causes them to commit murder.

But if the Times’ analysis isn’t enough to prove the point, take a look at the city of Chicago. Since before our current president was merely a community organizer in the Windy City, Chicago has competed for the title of Most Violent City in America. Murders are out of control, and gangs have law-abiding citizens running for cover. And thanks to Chicago and Illinois gun laws, they are running unarmed.

Unfortunately, many Chicago pols think the reason for the city’s outrageous level of violence is due to lax gun laws around them.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ranks the state of Illinois eighth among the 10 states with the toughest gun laws. Illinois is one of only four states that places a waiting period for purchasing any firearm, and it has one of the strictest concealed carry laws in the country — the state doesn’t even recognize concealed carry permits from any other states. Furthermore, gun owners can inadvertently break laws within the state due to overlapping and competing gun restrictions in different jurisdictions.

There is one certainty in this ongoing debate over how to deter gun violence in America: More laws will not solve the problem if criminals cannot be deterred by the laws already in place. It is impossible to prevent every death-by-firearm from happening — no more than preventing death by hand or foot — and taking away citizens’ constitutional rights won’t bring us closer to a peaceful society. Beyond that, we are reaping what we have sown with family and cultural decay. The problem of violence will persist until people can have an open dialogue about the problem without clinging to platitudes and personal agendas that have no connection to responsible and constitutional gun ownership.

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