Mass Shootings

Guns and the Do-Something Fallacy

from The Wall Street Journal,

An honest debate on mass shootings starts by admitting limits to federal solutions.

The American people, we are told, have grown cynical because we know the solutions but can’t implement them because of that pesky Second Amendment. But one driver of public cynicism surely has to be that little of what has been put in place so far has worked as promised. If America is serious about dealing with homicidal young men, the answer won’t be to dump the problem on local cops, the FBI or some federal database—especially when no crime has been committed.

“Everything’s on the table,” Mr. DeWine told reporters after the Dayton killings. But that really isn’t true. Like so many other pols, the governor means he’s willing to consider legislation controlling guns or access to them. What’s almost certainly not on the table? A critical look at whether more extensive background checks or red-flag laws or bans on “assault weapons” will in fact solve this problem. The same goes at the federal level. Take the Bipartisan Background Checks Act recently passed by the Democratic House and now being urged on the Republican Senate. David Harsanyi, a senior editor at the Federalist and author of “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History With the Gun,” notes that “the type of universal background checks now being proposed by Washington would have done nothing to deter any of the mass shootings we’ve seen.” The El Paso and Dayton shooters each apparently passed background checks and acquired their guns legally.

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