Actors Bradley Cooper, Will Ferrell, and 98 other celebrities sent President Obama a thank you letter for his executive action on gun control.
The letter opens by saying, “Thank you. Thank you for having the courage and leadership to take Executive Action on preventing more unnecessary gun violence in this country. We are deeply thankful for the actions you took this week. Countless lives will be saved as a result.”
But this is not true. It is not even almost true. The expansion of background checks to a few more sales will by no means hinder, much less stop, the next high profile shooting or mass public attack.
Why won’t more background checks help? Because every high profile shooter and mass killer of recent memory got his guns by going through a background check. So if they are already passing background checks, what crime-diminishing purpose could be served by requiring them to pass a background check?
This is common sense, but it is completely lost on the signatories of the letter. In fact, when they provide an example of a shooting from which they now expect to be spared–thanks to Obama–they cite the San Bernardino attack. They completely ignore the fact that the attackers at San Bernardino acquired their handguns via background checks. Moreover, the AR-15 rifles they used were purchased by a friend who passed a background check for those as well. Obama’s executive action would do nothing to prevent the San Bernardino attack from happening again tomorrow.
Yet here is another excerpt from the letter that Ferrell, Cooper, and nearly one hundred other celebrities signed:
Like you, and like most Americans, we have had ENOUGH. We have had enough of seeing unthinkable tragedies happen and nothing being done. Two masked people walk into a center for the disabled and murder 14 co-workers celebrating the holidays. A group of churchgoers are slaughtered during a prayer service even as they welcome the young man full of hate to their group. And the horrific day when 20 first graders and six educators were massacred in their classroom. In each case, the guns used were far too easily available to people intent on doing harm.
It is hard to figure out which is most embarrassing, the fact they cite a shooting where the gunman and gunwoman passed a background check for their handguns–San Bernardino–or the fact that they cite Sandy Hook, where Adam Lanza went around background checks altogether by stealing his guns.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.