In a September 27 editorial, the New York Times declared that the GOP-controlled Congress is “pathetic” for not passing California-style gun controls for the rest of the country.
The editorial turns on the idea of “[bucking] the National Rifle Association,” which the Times criticizes for seeking the overturn of the Obama-era ban on lead ammunition on federal lands. (President Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke overturned the lead ban on his first day in office.)
The Times goes on to criticize the Hearing Protection Act, claiming it is about “[repealing] controls on the sale of silencers to civilians.” Besides foolishly calling the devices “silencers” instead of suppressors, the Times editorial board writes as if it does not understand that suppressors are legal and widely-owned in over 40 states.
Moreover, the Times reports that suppressors were placed under the auspices of the National Firearms Act (1934) because “law enforcement officials wanted to make it harder for killers to escape detection.” Even if we grant their claim for the sake of argument, they do not bother noting that that using this particular gun control to stop killers has proven a dismal failure. For example, it has not done anything to prevent mass public attacks like those at Virginia Tech (April 16, 2007), the Aurora movie theater (July 20, 2012), or the Orlando Pulse (June 12, 2016). Nor has it prevented murder after murder on the streets of Chicago and Baltimore.
In fact, a great comparison in gun control failures would be to juxtapose the regulation of suppressors with the enactment of gun control upon gun control law in California. After all, California has universal background checks, firearm registration requirements, firearm confiscation laws, a 10-day waiting period on gun purchases, a “good cause” requirement for concealed carry permit issuance, and a ban on campus carry, among other things. Nevertheless, the Golden State has also suffered mass public attacks that garner the nation’s attention at the rate of once or twice each year.
For example, On December 2, 2015, two terrorists gunned down 14 people in San Bernardino; on June 1, 2016, there was a firearm-based murder-suicide on UCLA’s gun-free campus; on October 8, 2016, an attacker ambushed two Palm Springs police officers and shot them to death; and on April 18, 2017, an attacker shot and killed three in downtown Fresno.
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.