9/11 for schools

Gun control talk is heating up

Second Amendment

After last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, politicians have made loud calls for increased gun control measures, including a reinstatement of the Assault Weapons Ban — nevermind that the .223 Bushmaster rifle used by Adam Lanza wouldn’t have been covered under that law.

Politico notes this morning that President Barack Obama, who has previously called for more gun control measures, has announced that he will form a “guns task force” to presumably look at gun control policies that the White House could pursue. Of course, pro-Second Amendment advocates see this tragedy being politicized by policitians who have long clamored for increased gun control measures.

We’ve hear gun control advocates talk about how these mass shootings are on the rise. Despite the rhetoric, the facts just don’t bear that out. In an article published the day after the shooting at Shady Hook, the Associated Press explained:

“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.

The random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest, Fox says. Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer.

Kneejerk reactionism rarely works out like you hope

In light of the Sandy Hook tragedy, renewed calls for gun control is hardly surprising.  This isn’t unusual.  People, now terrified that the same thing could have happened to their children, turn to their elected officials to do something to make the problem go away.

This isn’t the first time this has happened either.  After 9/11, people wanted something that would make sure this would never happen again.  What we got was the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, and the Patriot Act.  The Fourth Amendment was gutted in an effort to catch “terrorists.”  Our ability to travel freely is now interfered with by a group of people who look more like the cast of a sitcom than a barrier against terrorist acts.  But the politicians “did something.”

Now, in light of Sandy Hook, we find ourselves at the same crossroads.  Battle lines are being drawn as you read this.  People who don’t even consider themselves pro-gun control are calling for limits in the round capacity of magazines.  Others are expecting gun rights advocates to defend reasons why certain features should be legal, rather than understanding that they don’t change the function of the weapon in any way and therefore a ban would be idiotic.

The kneejerking is normal.  On May 31, 2012, I went through it myself.  That’s the day I learned that Kimberly Lynn Layfield was murdered in a shooting at the Cafe Racer in Seattle, Washington.  Kim was a good friend of mine from high school, someone I treasured knowing more than almost anyone else.  My initial reaction? That my views on guns had been wrong for all these years. (For the record, I don’t know where Kim or her family stood on gun control on that day, nor how her family stands on it now)

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