Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) used a Huff Post op-ed on April 26 to suggest that gun-free zone shooting victims prove the need for Congress to pass more gun control.
Murphy specifically cites the heinous December 14, 2012, attack in gun-free Sandy Hook Elementary School, focusing the amount of physical damage the gunman inflicted on his 26 victims in “just five minutes” without any armed resistance.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission report, the official incident report compiled and transmitted to Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), indicates that the gunman actually had more than nine minutes without armed resistance. In other words, the criminal who entered gun-free Sandy Hook had nearly ten minutes in which he did not have to be in a hurry or worry about anyone shooting back.
Murphy claims the victims in such gun-free zones prove the need to pass even more gun control.
It’s not often that Members of Congress are brought in close to the trauma of gun violence. We don’t have to stand in the emergency room as gunshot victims are rushed in. We don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night reliving the painful aftermath of a mass shooting. Far too many of my colleagues believe that tweeting out our thoughts and prayers is sufficient.
Murphy bemoans the fact that Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) post-Sandy Hook gun control push for universal background checks was defeated and adds:
In the four and a half years since Sandy Hook, Congress hasn’t passed a single measure that would make the next mass shooting or the next murder of kids in this country less likely. The American public has made up its mind that they want a background check system that isn’t full of holes. They want to make sure that everybody who buys a gun through a commercial sale has to prove that they’re not a criminal before they buy it. They want to crack down on illegal gun purchases and on the military-style weapons and ammunition that facilitate the murder of dozens of innocent people in a matter of minutes. Congress has responded with total, unconscionable deafening silence.
We literally already have the very system Murphy is suggesting. Since 1998, every retail, or “commercial,” gun sale has required a background check, yet those checks have proven no hindrance for determined attackers.
For example, here are just a few of the mass public attackers who acquired their guns via background checks:
- the New York bombing suspect (September 19, 2016)
- the Orlando attacker (June 12, 2016)
- the UCLA gunman (June 1, 2016))
- the San Bernardino attackers (December 2, 2015)
- the Colorado Springs attacker (October 31, 2015)
- the Umpqua Community College attacker (October 1, 2015)
- Alison Parker’s attacker (August 26, 2015)
- the Lafayette movie theater attacker (July 23, 2015)
- the Chattanooga attacker (July 16, 2015)
- the alleged Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attacker (Jun 17, 2015)
- the Muhammad Cartoon Contest attackers (May 3, 2014)
- the Las Vegas cop killers (June 9, 2015)
- the Santa Barbara attacker (May 23, 2014)
- the Fort Hood attacker (April 2, 2014)
- the Arapahoe High School attacker (December 13, 2013)
- the D.C. Navy Yard attacker (September 16, 2013)
- the Aurora movie theater attacker (July 20, 2012)
- Gabby Giffords’ attacker (January 8, 2011)
- the Fort Hood attacker (November 5, 2009)
- the Virginia Tech attacker (April 16, 2007)
Background checks look backward. They check for a criminal history, and if there is no criminal history, the person planning a crime will be able to pass the background check and acquire a gun. Background checks do not stop latent criminals, only actual ones. Moreover, other attackers, such as the one at Sandy Hook, bypass the system by stealing guns.
If Democrats really want to focus on something that will make schools like Sandy Hook safer, they should push to eliminate the one thing that is all too often a commonality in mass attacks–namely, gun-free zones. It was Sandy Hook’s gun-free zone status that gave the attacker more than nine minutes without any armed resistance.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.