In a press conference on guns filled bluster, unearned moral superiority, and exploitation of murder victims, President Obama did lay out a few specific policy proposals. Not a single one of those proposals would have stopped what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, or Virginia Tech. Each, however, has been a longtime goal of the anti-gun left:
- Ban on new assault weapons: Dianne Feinstein tried this in her 1994 signature legislation. In 1999, Columbine occurred. Now, Obama is resurrecting this dead horse knowing full well it will not pass the Senate. The truth is that it shouldn’t – assault weapons are responsible for a tiny minority of all murders with guns in this nation, and mass shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook would not have been stopped had the shooters not had so-called assault weapons. Virginia Tech was perpetrated with handguns.
- Limits on high-capacity magazines: Of all the left’s proposals, this one makes the least sense. Generation of illegal magazines is a simple process – in fact, people are now able to print plastic magazines at home – and in any case, switching magazines is a simple process requiring no more than three seconds. There is no evidence that any lives would have been saved at any mass shooting by smaller magazines.
- Expanded background checks for gun purchasers: Of Obama’s proposals, this one has the most public support. The truth is, however, that background checks would not have weeded out any of the mass shooters in the recent past – and that in cases where it would have, laws on the books already should have done the job (see Virginia Tech).
- Tougher gun trafficking laws: Obama spelled this out in vague terms, so it is unclear what precisely he proposes. The problem was not gun trafficking in any of these cases.
As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says, “nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).