By Andrew Mayzak
This editorial was written in response to the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, the largest mass shooting in American history.
1. “Fully automatic weapons are illegal - more laws wouldn’t have prevented this.”
Except that under federal and Nevada state law, it is legal to buy, sell, and possess a fully automatic weapon (aka machine gun) manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 when the ban went into effect. Oh, and it’s not hard to convert a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic rifle; there are step by step tutorials online.
2. “If only there were good people with guns...”
To do what? Turn around drunk at a concert and pick off a guy on the 32nd floor of the hotel across the street with a 9mm pistol? Right. Ask yourself if a shootout-prone “Wild West” society is where you’d really like to live.
3. “People will find ways to kill one another if you ban guns.”
Yes, because “58 people die in mass stabbing” read no headline ever.
No one is saying we shouldn’t focus on preventing extremism; just that we should cut back on the availability of firearms. The United States has more guns per capita than any other country and more gun deaths per capita than any other developed country. That’s not a coincidence.
4. “My 2nd amendment rights!”
The 2nd Amendment was never intended to allow civilian individuals to own military-grade weaponry. Only in 2008, when Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the ruling in District of Columbia v Heller, was the phrase “well-regulated militia” interpreted to mean a sacred individual right to bear arms like an AR-15.
5. “If the government ever needs to be overthrown...”
Not one of you has taken up arms against the tyrant in the White House who was aided by a foreign power during the election, lost the popular vote by 3 million, coddles white supremacists, and literally went golfing while Americans died in Puerto Rico. Which tells me you either support him or, behind that gun, you’re too much of a coward to exercise your “right” to keep our government in check.
6. “We don’t know the shooter’s motives...”
Sure we do: he’s a white American male just like 90% of all mass shooters who kill strangers in a rampage. His motives are the perceived erosion of tacit white supremacy in America and the ensuing insecurity caused by social change.
7. “Stop politicizing this tragedy.”
Grow up. Everything is political, especially when human beings die because the laws governing society fail to protect them.
8. “We should pray.”
By all means, if an irrational self-hypnotic conversation with a Bronze Age superstition helps you cope, don’t let me stop you. But we’ve been praying since Columbine and guess what? In 20 years, no deity has fixed our problem. That means god either wants us to solve it on our own, isn’t listening, or doesn’t exist. Your choice.
9. “If you ban guns, they’ll just end up on the black market.”
Yes, they will. Which will deter at least some people who don’t feel safe buying a firearm from a gangster in a dark alley. If sales go down even 10% as a result, it’s a win.
10. “But whattabout...”
No one with a brain is interested in your false equivalences, red herrings, and twisted rationalizations for why our current gun culture is acceptable. You’re either a truly sick gun advocate or a contrarian tool who ignores statistics because you’re afraid of being wrong.