Hawkins: Zero (the Number of Mass Shootings H.R. 8 Would Have Stopped)

Local and federal law enforcement briefs the press on September 2, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Officials say the shooter is dead after he killed 7 people and injured 22 in the mass shooting that began with a traffic stop on August 31. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)Local and federal law …
Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

As Democrats press the universal background check legislation contained in H.R. 8 it is worth noting that such checks would not have stopped a single mass shooting of the last decade.

H.R. 8 is designed to expand retail background checks so they include private sales as well. This means a neighbor selling a five-shot revolver to a lifelong neighbor would have to seek out a federally licensed firearms dealer and make sure his neighbor passes a background check before the gun is sold. While this scenario appeals to Americans who are emotionally strained in the aftermath of a mass shooting, it would actually do next to nothing to prevent a mass shooting, as mass shooters also always buy their guns at retail store via a background check.

Consider the following list of mass shooting and high-profile shooting attacks during the past decade. As you read the list, understand that guns used in the attacks were obtained at retail, which requires a background check:

  • Dayton, Ohio (August 4, 2019)
  • El Paso, Texas (August 3, 2019)
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 28, 2019)
  • Virginia Beach attacker (May 31, 2019)
  • Poway Synagogue attacker (April 27, 2019)
  • Tree of Life Synagogue attacker (October 27, 2018)
  • Parkland high school attacker (February 14, 2018)
  • Texas church attacker (November 5, 2017)
  • Las Vegas attacker (October 1, 2017)
  • Alexandria attacker (June 14, 2017))
  • Orlando attacker (June 12, 2016)
  • UCLA gunman (June 1, 2016))
  • San Bernardino attackers (December 2, 2015) 
  • Colorado Springs attacker (October 31, 2015)
  • Umpqua Community College attacker (October 1, 2015)
  • Alison Parker’s attacker (August 26, 2015)
  • Lafayette movie theater attacker (July 23, 2015)
  • Chattanooga attacker (July 16, 2015)
  • Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attacker (Jun 17, 2015)
  • Muhammad Cartoon Contest attackers (May 3, 2014)
  • Las Vegas cop killers (June 9, 2015)
  • Santa Barbara attacker (May 23, 2014)
  • Fort Hood attacker (April 2, 2014)
  • Arapahoe High School attacker (December 13, 2013)
  • D.C. Navy Yard attacker (September 16, 2013)
  • Aurora movie theater attacker (July 20, 2012)
  • Gabby Giffords’ attacker (January 8, 2011)
  • The Fort Hood attacker (November 5, 2009)

Universal background checks would not have stopped a single shooting on the list.

Those who pay strict attention to detail may notice that two shootings, the December 11, 2012, Clackamas Town Center shooting and the December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School attack, were missing from the list. These shootings were not included because the gunman involved stole their firearms, thereby bypassing any point-of-sale gun control imaginable. But the point remains the same, universal background checks would not have stopped the Clackamas shooting or the Sandy Hook attack.

A similar thing can be said about the more recent Midland-Odessa gunman. He had previously failed a background check to acquire a gun and authorities now suspect he circumvented the checks by buying a firearm that was illegally made and illegally sold.

If true, universal background checks would have done nothing to prevent the Midland-Odessa shooting.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.


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