The New York Times reluctantly concludes that gun laws are not an effective way to stop mass shootings:
The New York Times examined all 130 shootings last year in which four or more people were shot, at least one fatally, and investigators identified at least one attacker. The cases range from drug-related shootouts to domestic killings that wiped out entire families to chance encounters that took harrowing wrong turns.
They afford a panoramic view of some of the gun control debate’s fundamental issues: whether background checks and curbs on assault weapons limit violence; whether the proliferation of open-carry practices and rules allowing guns on college campuses is a spark to violence; whether it is too easy for dangerously mentally ill or violent people to get guns.
The findings are dispiriting to anyone hoping for simple legislative fixes to gun violence. In more than half the 130 cases, at least one assailant was already barred by federal law from having a weapon, usually because of a felony conviction, but nonetheless acquired a gun. Including those who lacked the required state or local permits, 64 percent of the shootings involved at least one attacker who violated an existing gun law.
Of the remaining assailants, 40 percent had never had a serious run-in with the law and probably could have bought a gun even in states with the strictest firearm controls. Typically those were men who killed their families and then themselves. Only 14 shootings involved assault rifles, illustrating their outsize role in the gun debate.
The fact is that banning no-fault divorce would reduce mass shootings considerably more than even the most stringent gun laws. Institutionalizing the mentally disturbed, banning psychotropic drugs used for depression, legalizing street drugs, and eliminating gun-free zones would further reduce their incidence.
Unfortunately, as with most solutions proposed by the fearful and the irrational, gun control isn’t actually about reducing gun violence, let alone lethal violence, it is about making the frightened rabbits feel better about their inability to defend themselves. That is why they will continue to push for it even though it is known that it cannot achieve its nominal purpose.