The Logical End of the Left’s Anti-Gun Crusade

Recently on Tucker Carlson’s show, Don Calloway (Rep D-MO) opened with this pearl of insight into the leftist mind, suggesting that “mass shootings are the result of the types of weapons that are available to our society, and the lethality of weapons that are available to our society.”

It would be easy to understand that what he means by this is that mass shootings are made deadlier when people have access to more lethal weaponry.  But that’s not what he said.  He said that mass shootings “are the result” of people having access to deadly weaponry.  It’s pretty tactical phrasing. 

But are mass shootings truly “the result of the types of weapons available to our society?”  Follow that logic to its reasonable end. 

The vast majority of gun deaths in recent years are suicides, and the majority of suicides are suicides by gun.  Sadly, I’ve known some friends who have died in this way.  Is it accurate to say that their suicides are a result of their having access to guns, rather than a result of their unreconciled personal problems which led to them committing suicide?

Or consider this.  In 2014, there were 248 people killed by rifles (including AR-15s and all the scary other scary “assault weapons” you hear about) versus 3,827 people who were killed by being either stabbed or beaten to death by a blunt instrument.  Is it accurate to say that those people died as a result of our society allowing its citizens access to knives, hammers, and baseball bats, rather than saying that those 3,827 died as a result of the myriad murderous impulses of their attackers?

Let’s take that last number and examine further.  In 2014 alone, there were 3,827 people either stabbed or beaten to death.  Since 1966, a recent Washington Post article proclaims, there have been 948 deaths as a result of mass shootings in America. Which is to say that the number of people stabbed or beaten to death in 2014 is over 300% of the number of people killed in mass shootings in every single mass shooting event of the last 51 years.

And not all of those mass shootings were the result of access to AR-15s or any similar gun that everyone is fretting about today, mind you.

Take the event where the Post article cites the data aggregation’s beginning, with the types of weapons used in the event being conspicuously omitted in that article.

In 1966, a man named Charles Whitman took rifles to the top of the University of Texas clock tower with a murderous mission.  The deadliest instrument he used was a bolt-action rifle, not an AK-47 or an AR-15.  His murder-spree yielded 18 dead, including Whitman’s suicide and the death of an unborn child.  Add to this 31 non-fatal injuries on that day.

I would wager that, if pressed, Don Calloway would say that he would not be in favor of outlawing bolt-action rifles today.  But aren’t “mass shootings the result of the kind of weapons that are available to our society?”  So, according the logic he offers, why wouldn’t he be in favor of legislation outlawing bolt-action rifles, as he is in favor of outlawing AR-15s or high-capacity magazines today?

Because the argument to legislate gun control in the wake of mass shootings is less about facts than the timely emotional appeals for Americans to disregard them.

For example, Stephen Colbert suggested that legislatively “doing something” is better than “doing nothing,” especially in the wake of mass shooting events.  Again, follow this logic to its end.  “Seizing all guns” from law-abiding Americans is better than “seizing no guns” from law-abiding Americans.  It’s just silly and emotional nonsense from the outset.

But specifically, Colbert offered that we reinstate the assault weapons ban, which was in place from 1994-2004, in the federal legislative effort to “do something.” 

What data do we have suggesting that the assault weapons ban was effective?  Since 2004, as I noted in 2013, murder rates have declined dramatically, coinciding with increased gun ownership and expansion of concealed carry laws among many states.

So what good would an assault weapons ban actually do, beside making the Hollywood and media elite feel better about themselves for having called for it?  They, of course, will continue to have their own personal guards, armed to the teeth, protecting them and their families.  But the answer for most Americans?  It would likely do little, and the data suggest that the result would not be positive, but negative.  After all, lifting the assault weapons ban in 2004 yielded a long-term drop in overall murder rates.

It’s purely about emotion, and about specific people among the left using that emotion to achieve a desired ideological end.

Mass shootings do have the potential to be deadlier when deadlier weapons are in use, certainly.  But this isn’t some elusive wisdom, and certainly should not be the foundational logic in legislative efforts to curtail law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights.  It’s the same simple logic that Kim Kardashian offered to her simple fans recently via Twitter: 

Her tweet suggests that it was okay that the Founders intended for us to have one-minute-per-shot muskets, but they never envisioned modern weapons.  And since modern weapons can kill more people in a shorter amount of time, they should be outlawed or regulated by the federal government (which the Second Amendment makes clear, the federal government cannot do, for the record).  One-minute-per-shot muskets need no regulation, the argument goes, because they could only potentially kill one person per minute.

Except that’s not actually what the Founders argued at all, and that’s just silly logic that has nothing to do with the purpose of the Second Amendment.  At the time of the Constitution’s writing, those single-ball muskets were the most utilitarian and deadliest personal weapons on the planet.  As such, they were the weapon of choice for the United States’ military soldiers, and there can be no question that the Founders argued that Americans had a God-given right to own those same weapons in their own homes. 

And it was understood to be Americans’ God-given right to own the most lethal personal weapons on the planet, so that they might protect their lives, liberty, and property against any outside agents of tyranny who would seek to rob them of any of those things, be that agent a burglar in his home, a would-be mass murderer, or a representative of an oppressive government -- ours included.

What the left is presenting today is nothing more than a very thinly-veiled attempt to delegitimize the Second Amendment in its entirety. 

The left is very clearly seeking to politically capitalize on this horrific event.  And while we should all be unified in our mourning over the lost life due to the evil murderer in Las Vegas, we should not sit idly silent as it is presumed that it is not the murderer’s impulses and actions alone that are the cause of that mourning, but that it’s somehow a result of our American rights, or our legal access to guns of a specific lethality, that is to blame.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.