More Gun Laws Would Not End Massacres


Like everyone else, I am appalled by the recent spate of gun shootings in California. My hopes and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

But in my job, it’s always my duty to point out the political implications of any proposed remedy. The emotions of the moment must be seen in the light of reason.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), whose district is adjacent to Half Moon Bay, the scene of one of the tragedies, said: “There is no such thing as a silver bullet, we obviously have to start discarding these weapons of war they don’t belong on our streets.”

In fact, “weapons of war” or “assault weapons” are no different than regular rifles, just look meaner. The differences are cosmetic. A ban would mean a ban on all guns.

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed numerous gun control laws into law, making California the most restrictive in the nation. One of those laws made the weapon used by the Monterey Park killer, a 9mm MAC-10, illegal. According to ABC7, the killer appears to be manufacturing firearm silencers (“silencers”) at home, which is also illegal. But in this day and age of 3D printing, that’s easy. I won’t link them, but 3D blueprints are online even to craft weapons.

But Newsom attacked Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow California native: “Where was he on gun safety reform? Where does the Republican Party stand on gun safety reform? Shame on you. Shame on those who allow and perpetuate this for political rewards.”

Indeed, last year Republicans helped Democrats pass a bipartisan gun law, the first in three decades. One of them was Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. That was one of the reasons Wyoming voters ousted her.

Elections have consequences

This shows the problem for those who advocate new gun controls. In our democracy, gun rights forces are popular enough that they can win enough elections to stop serious abuses of the Second Amendment. Democrats found this out the hard way when President Biden passed the 1994 ban on “assault weapons” and boasted about how he had entered the law as a senator.

In November of that year, Democrats lost control of the Senate and House of Representatives, in part because gun rights voters organized to put Republicans in office.

Gun rights supporters have also spent decades working for Republican presidential candidates in hopes that they would take Second Amendment supporters to the Supreme Court. That paid off with the 2008 Heller decision, which guaranteed the amendment the right to “keep and bear arms.” Then, in 2022, the New York Rifle & Pistol Association decision guaranteed the right to carry a gun in public.

If gun controllers are angry, they should blame themselves for supporting presidential candidates like Michael Dukakis in 1998, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, and Hillary Clinton in 2016. In our democratic system voters rejected them in favor of gun rights. Candidates were George HW Bush, George W. Bush and Donald Trump – who in turn tried judges like Clarence Thomas in 1991, who wrote last year’s gun decision.

guns and freedom

Perhaps most misleading was the Jan. 22 Los Angeles Times editorial at 4:47 p.m.: “Editorial: Monterey Park Shooting Is Horrifying But All Too Familiar.” That was less than 24 hours after the murders, barely enough time to collect even the most rudimentary facts.

It meant:

The killers don’t have a common profile, but they do have one thing in common: they have guns. And one way or another, we give them their guns. The United States is the only society with such a powerful gun lobby.

Yes, and that’s why it’s still the freest society in the world. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom also have our heritage of “Englishmen’s rights” in English common law, but have not only given up the right to own and bear arms, they have also given up freedom of speech and association. Relive the obscene attack on the trucker protesters in Canada a year ago.

(Today I must add: by “the rights of the English” I mean, of course, the rights of all inhabitants of these countries, regardless of their origin, male or female. I myself have no English ancestry.)

I have a saying: Second Amendment, First Freedom. If you can’t own a weapon to defend your home, how free are you? That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to own a gun. Just so you can own one. And of course, a criminal contemplating a “home invasion” has no idea whether or not you have a gun.

The neighborhood I grew up in Michigan in the 1950s and 1960s, almost every father was a WWII or Korean War veteran. Everyone had guns and knew how to use them. No burglaries.

The Times is also wrong about corporations and guns. In Switzerland, every adult male is expected to serve in his army and have not just a semi-automatic rifle (one shot at a time) but a fully automatic rifle and ammunition at home. Crime is really low there.

The Times again:

This lobby, and the manufacturers who profit from the sale of millions of guns, have systematically instilled in right-wing politics an ideology that equates gun proliferation with freedom and even modest, sane controls with state repression.

So the Times is against profits? How else would honest, law-abiding people buy guns if not from gun companies? And we all know that Canadians, Brits, Aussies and Kiwis have lost this basic right to “common sense controls”.

‘Evil Genius’

The times:

The evil genius of the gun lobby is so pervasive that it has convinced millions of Americans that the only way to defend themselves against all the violence being committed by an over-gunned population is to acquire more guns.

So if you prefer gun rights, you are “evil”. It is rhetoric like this that makes Americans go out and buy guns whenever they read it. They fear the gun thieves will soon arrive in the middle of the night with a “rude knock on the door,” as Solzhenitsyn described secret police raids in the Soviet Union. No wonder Americans own more than 400 million guns. And how, if you please, does the Times propose to grab all those guns? How many rude knocks on the door will it take?

After all, however horrific these gun slaughters are – and they are beyond horrific – psychopaths intent on killing have other means at their disposal. Just before Christmas 2021, Darrell E. Brooks Jr. madly drove an SUV into a parade in Waukesha, Wisc., killing six people. Last November he was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In 2016, a maniac named Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a 19-ton truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 86 people. The police then killed him.

Should we ban SUVs and trucks?

The tragic feeling of life

So what should be done about gun murders? I think we have more gun laws than we need. What is perhaps needed is the realization of what the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno called “The Tragic Life of Meaning.” That bad things happen to good people. And that a hasty reaction to a terrible action can make a bad situation even worse.

Unamuno wrote (full book online here):

This suffering gives hope, which is the beauty of life, the supreme beauty or consolation. And since love is full of suffering, since love is compassion and pity, beauty springs from compassion and is simply the temporal comfort that compassion seeks. A tragic consolation! And the supreme beauty is that of tragedy. The awareness that everything is passing, that we ourselves are passing, and that everything that belongs to us and everything that surrounds us is passing fills us with fear, and this fear itself reveals to us the consolation of the immortal, of the eternal, of beautiful.

And this beauty thus revealed, this continuity of presence, is realized only practically, lives only through the action of charity. Hope in action is charity, and beauty in action is kindness.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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