COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama has promised to “vigorously” pursue a “meaningful” assault weapons ban, and will accomplish absolutely nothing if he manages to get it.
“What you can count on is that the things that I’ve said in the past – the belief that we have to have stronger background checks, that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, an assault weapons ban that’s meaningful – those are things I continue to believe make sense,” Obama said during a press conference attended by NBC News.
“Will all of them get through this Congress? I don’t know,” he added. “But what’s uppermost in my mind is making sure that I’m honest with the American people and with members of Congress about what I think will work.”
“My starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works,” Obama said. “What should we be doing to make sure that our children are safe and that we’re reducing the incidence of gun violence? And I think we can do that in a sensible way that comports with the Second Amendment.”
Obama also had some “comforting” words for law-abiding citizens who also happen to own those scary assault weapons:
“Those of us who look at this problem have repeatedly said that responsible gun owners — people who have a gun for protection, for hunting, for sportsmanship – they don’t have anything to worry about,” he said. “The issue here is not whether or not we believe in the Second Amendment. The issue is are there some sensible steps that we can take to make sure that somebody like the individual in Newtown can’t walk into a school and gun down a bunch of children in a shockingly rapid fashion.”
Okay, let’s take a look at “what makes sense, what works.” An assault weapons ban? Didn’t stop the Columbine shooting, did it? For that matter, neither did armed guards. Both may have arguably (speculatively) prevented a higher body count, but 13 people still lost their lives that day, didn’t they?
“But let’s not jump to conclusions,” cries the reasonable Republican. “Close the gun show loophole!” Sounds good, except there isn’t one, according to the FBI. Furthermore, none of the weapons used in the latest slew of killings were purchased that way.
“What about the media? Violent movies and video games?” cries NRA talking air-head Wayne LaPierre. No correlation.
“A ha, but mental health!” That system already works. Adam Lanza was denied purchase of a rifle days before the Newtown shooting. That’s why he stole his mother’s guns. So far as we know, Nancy Lanza was mentally sound and purchased her weapons legally.
“So naturally, an assault weapons ban is the only solution.” At CES last week, Bill Clinton said that half of all mass killings in the US have occurred since the expiration of his assault weapons ban in 2005. Pretty slick sound-byte, but there are a few bulwarks preventing this statement from being “true.” First, he doesn’t actually say whether an assault weapon was even used in any of these “mass killings.” Over 140 people have been killed or injured by mass shootings in 2012 alone, and only about 30 of them died facing down an assault weapon.
Stretch further back, and Clinton’s claim becomes so statistically irrelevant that it’s barely worth mentioning. And that claim is based on a fact-check by the liberalWashington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler.
“Well still, the founding fathers never intended for assault weapons when they crafted the Second Amendment. Let the people have muskets, and muskets alone,” says the smug liberal. Fine, take them away from the military, too. “Fine,” the smug liberal replies. “We need to cut military spending anyway.”
Alright, then let’s look at other Amendments with that logic, as well. The founding fathers didn’t intend for the internet, so maybe that ought to be regulated strictly as well. You can still write letters and talk to people in person and say what you want, but you would agree that the internet is a hot-bed for hate, bullying, and perversion, right? “Well… be reasonable.”
I am being reasonable. There have been 41 suicides related to cyber bullying in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom since 2003. That’s twice the number of dead kids in Newtown. Studies show that the trend is rising, too. More of the suicides have happened in recent years. Look, you can keep letters and personal speech, because those are the only things the founding fathers intended us to have. But the internet needs to be regulated, limited, and free speech there curtailed.
“Weren’t a lot of those kids mentally ill? Didn’t those suicides have a variety of complex external motivators in addition to cyber bullying?”
Yup. Now you see my point.
President Obama can “vigorously” pursue a “meaningful” assault weapons ban all he likes. A “meaningful” assault weapons ban is nothing more than an insulting but strangely natural conclusion to the flawed and asinine conversation that has risen in the complete disservice to 20 dead children in Newtown, Connecticut. It’s not a right or left issue, you all ought to be ashamed of yourselves for your part in this conversation and your willful ignorance of truths on every side.
Because the conversation is honestly a hell of a lot easier than you’re all making it. The problem is that the only question worth asking is so frightening, no one has the balls to ask it. Do we do things the European way, surrender the Second Amendment, and ban all guns so that gun-related violence falls to near-zero… or do we accept that 20 dead children is just a price we have to pay every once in a while for unilateral freedom?