Mass Shootings

We Have Effective Gun Violence Solutions. You Just Won't Listen.

by Amy Swearer,
from Heritage Foundation,

Everybody with a soul is shattered over their pain. We have been shattered every single time, from Columbine to Parkland to Uvalde. When we oppose certain policies in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, it is not because gun control advocates have a monopoly on outrage or because we are somehow insensitive to the suffering of our neighbors. We oppose these policies precisely because the lives of these victims mattered, because the grief of their loved ones is real, and because we all want thriving communities where families are flourishing instead of burying their children. The opposition to certain policies in the wake of these tragedies has always been a genuine concern that those policies suffer from serious constitutional and practical defects. We have always proposed alternatives that are more effective and less constitutionally suspect. What we have rarely been met with are open ears.

Read & Watch full testimony here.

Good public policy starts from an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the scope and nature of a particular problem.

I. Commonly Proposed Gun Control Policies that are Unconstitutional, Impractical, and Ineffective There are three primary gun control policies that are routinely called for in the wake of high-profile mass public shootings: banning so-called “assault weapons,” banning magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, and raising the age at which individuals may purchase or possess firearms. All of these suffer from serious constitutional and practical defects. None of them would have meaningful impacts on gun violence in general, or on the frequency or lethality of mass shootings, in particular.

II. Methods of Addressing Gun Violence that are Problematic in Practice There are, additionally, several types of laws that could, in theory, be constitutional and effective, but that routinely suffer from serious flaws in practice. Among these are federal “red flag laws,” and laws requiring background checks on intrastate private gun sales.

III. Constitutional, Practical, and Federally Appropriate Methods of Combatting Gun Violence A. Take Violent Crime Seriously Under Existing Laws On the surface, enforcing existing laws may seem like an easy solution. After all, it is already illegal to traffic in firearms, to sell or lend guns to prohibited persons, or for violent felons to possess firearms. It does not necessitate new laws. But to meaningfully enforce laws, many cities do need to change their policy approaches when it comes to law enforcement. Unfortunately, much of this task falls to states and local governments. It is shameful that so many of the federal government’s state and local counterparts have singled out the rights of peaceable gun owners while at same time refusing to hold violent criminals—including those who unlawfully use firearms to harm innocent people—fully accountable for their actions.

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