Mass Shooting Hysteria is sweeping the nation. Everyone wants an answer to these tragedies. Hopefully a simple one. That fits our closely held political beliefs. Alas, there is no simple answer except one: Gun Control. So let’s match facts up to theory.
In theory, firearm background checks are a significant part of the answer. The Dayton shooter had a clean background when he bought his weapons. The El Paso shooter: same. The Garlic Festival shooter: same. So if background checks are the answer, what now? Deeper background checks are needed some say. Would a firearm applicant need to divulge his mental history? If he admits to a mental defect history, or admits to membership in the KKK, the approving agency could make further inquiry. But if the applicant says he has no history or problematic organization memberships, then what? HIPAA laws would block any such inquiry into mental history, so you would never know.
In theory, Red Flag laws could help. Red Flag laws are designed for those instances where someone is accused of being a threat to themselves or others. Let’s assume you can build in enough due process safeguards to keep innocent persons from being drawn into a Red Flag lawsuit. It still would not have changed any of the mass shootings referenced above. None of these shooters had tipped off anyone ahead of time.
In theory, more areas should be gun free. Yeah, that has worked so well. All three locations were already gun-free zones. The Garlic Festival shooter cut his way through a fence. The bar in Dayton was gun free by statute. The gun-free Walmart was designated by the property owner and well posted. Almost every mass shooting has happened in a gun-free zone.
In theory, gun show sales should be restricted and subject to background checks. Guess what? Any Federal Firearms License holder is already subject to that law. Now you can argue that gun shows bring gun-loving people together, and as private citizens, they do not have to do a background check on a private sale. However, some states already require background checks on all gun sales. But since all three shooters legally bought their firearms, this idea would not have changed a thing.
So what the gun control crowd ultimately wants is a ban on gun ownership. It is the only way to prevent these tragedies, they opine. And since we can’t trust anyone, no more guns for hunting, otherwise only hunters can be mass shooters. I would suggest that the confiscation of all firearms would be even less effective than our war on drugs, and look how well that has gone.
Me? I recognize the horror that mass shootings have on the citizenry, but the only possible simple answer is to remove gun-free zones. Gun-Free Zones are not obeyed by people with bad intent, but good guys do follow the law. Allow good guys to carry in most prohibited places provided they have a a state issued gun carry license. It will not solve every problem but it would put more good guys with guns in places where they might can stop another mass shooting tragedy.