Today, President Obama took to the podium to declare his unsurprising support for new, poorly-calibrated gun laws. His logic was simple: a horrific massacre occurred in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary, and we must try something. Anything. Well, not anything -- the same tried-and-true liberal gun control measures that have failed time and again.
Obama said, “We may never know all the reasons why this tragedy happened. We do know that every day since, more Americans have died of gun violence. We know such violence has terrible consequences for our society. And if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try.”
No one would disagree with that, obviously. But try what?
Obama explained what he wouldn’t really try: anything having to do with mental health (even though shooter Adam Lanza clearly suffered from mental health issues, as did the Gabby Giffords, Virginia Tech, and Aurora, Colorado shooters); anything having to do with the entertainment industry’s emphasis on violence; anything having to do with over-the-top violent video games:
We're going to need on making access to mental health at least as easy as access to a gun. We're going to need to look more closely at a culture that, all too often, glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.
But the fact that this problem is complex, can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing.
In other words, forget all that nice talk about the culture and coping societally with mental illness. Let’s grab guns. Obama said he would set up a commission – which is Washington-speak for a group of people with whom Obama agrees already – to discuss how to reduce gun violence. To head that commission, Obama will appoint Vice President and village idiot Joe Biden, who did such a stellar job ensuring that stimulus funding wasn’t wasted.
But Obama didn’t have to wait for the commission to even form to push legislation he thinks will cure all America’s ills on situations like Sandy Hook:
The good news is there's already a growing consensus for us to build from. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals can't take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won't take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.
I urge the new Congress to hold votes on these measures next year in a timely manner.
Obama relies on the majority now, but he’s happy to discard it when it doesn’t agree with him. As to the merits of his proposed legislation:
- An assault weapons ban was already in place in Connecticut when Sandy Hook took place. In fact, a federal assault weapons ban was in place for five years before the Columbine massacre. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's proposed legislation would not touch the gun used in Sandy Hook -- it would be grandfathered in. And the Sandy Hook killer was also carrying two handguns, which nobody on the left has proposed even restricting.
- With regard to banning high-capacity ammunition clips, California has experimented with lowering the capacity of magazines. It remains fifth in the country in gun murder rate. New Hampshire has no such restrictions. It ranks last.
- With regard to background checks, a carefully tailored law requiring criminal and mental health background checks is opposed by few Americans. The problem is that federal law is rarely so carefully tailored, or even enforced as it currently stands (see the Virginia Tech shooting). Let’s see the legislation before greenlighting it.
Obama also proposed confirming a new director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. That’s his fault. His 2012 pick was so bad that even the Democrat-controlled Senate would approve him.
Then Obama got into his rhetorical manipulation. Here’s Obama, sounding no different than any normal National Rifle Association member:
Obviously, across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is, the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible. They buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sports shooting, collection or protection.
But you know what? I am also betting that the majority - the vast majority of responsible law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war.
Actually, any rational person would want to be able to keep a weapon – any weapon, including a pea-shooter – out of the hands of an irresponsible, law-breaking few. The question, of course, is how to do that without infringing the rights of the law-abiding. Obama has yet to make any proposal along those lines.
If he we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people there would be fewer atrocities like the ones in Newtown or any of the lesser known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day.
Connecticut has worked hard at it with law after law. Sandy Hook happened. Chicago has more gun laws than virtually anywhere else in the nation – and every weekend is a mini-Sandy Hook, ignored by the media. We want to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. But the liberals’ idea of action hasn’t achieved that.
Obama came back to the notion of “trying.” It’s just another example of his intent being good, without regard for the actual consequences of the legislation he’s proposing. Here are a few pieces of legislation that would achieve something:
- Ensuring armed security at schools. That would have stopped Adam Lanza.
- Doing away with so-called gun free zones, which are almost invariably the targets of mass shooters.
- Easing the privacy restrictions surrounding mental health, so that parents and guardians of the mentally ill know about their circumstances.
- Easing the ability to involuntarily commit those who would be a threat to themselves or others.
Obama has proposed none of these. He just wants to try what we tried before Columbine, and what has failed everywhere from California to Chicago, all the while ignoring the legal and societal measures truly necessary to stop the next Sandy Hook.