In the wake of the atrocity perpetrated by a deranged man in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday, pundits, broadcasters, government officials, and pretty much everyone else with an opinion have rushed to comment on the who, what, when, why, and how of the situation – often without any evidence to back up their claims.
The new rallying cry among the left is “common sense gun laws.” For example, Colin Goddard, a victim of the Virginia Tech shooting, rails against Arizona for not having the following laws:
“No laws to protect children from adults who leave guns unlocked.
No laws to require a license with a purchase.
No laws to require mandatory reporting of stolen guns.
No laws requiring fingerprinting, or the micro-stamping of guns.
No laws limiting how many guns can be purchased every month.
No laws requiring background checks for purchasing ammunition.
No laws requiring that law enforcement have a say in who can carry concealed weapons, as Jared Loughner is accused of doing.
No assault weapons restrictions, and no restrictions, as we sadly saw, on how many rounds can be in high-capacity magazines — magazines that declare and wage war on innocents.”
None of these laws would have stopped Loughner from attacking Congresswoman Giffords and the people gathered outside that Safeway. Nor would they have stopped Seung-Hui Cho, Nidal Hassan, etc.
Are we really supposed to believe that had Jared Loughner been illegally carrying a concealed weapon, he would not have done what he did? Nidal Hassan shot Soldiers on an Army base, where concealed carry is most definitely prohibited. Cho shot students in a university, where concealed carry was prohibited.
Loughner, Cho and Hasan all passed background checks when buying their firearms, so what would have stopped them from buying ammunition if a background check was required on such purchases?
Goddard also states that it’s easy to buy a gun at a gun show – ignoring the fact that neither Cho, Hasan, nor Loughner purchased their firearms at gun shows. All of them purchased their handguns at least one month before their murderous rampages, and while they all apparently purchased multiple handguns, only one handgun was used in each shooting. It’s already a requirement for firearms dealers to report multiple purchases of handguns within a one-week period to the ATF.
Restrictions on “high capacity” magazines, as Richard Daley suggests, certainly would not have stopped Cho, who reportedly went through 17 Glock magazines when firing over 170 rounds – using “restricted capacity” magazines.
What we have still not learned – and what some would refuse to recognize – is that the abject failure of government agencies, especially in terms of communicating between agencies, plays a major role in allowing attacks, large and small, to be executed.
– Seung-Hui Cho was never forced to return to court after his failure to complete court-ordered mental health programs, and information about this was never communicated to NICS, which controls background checks on firearms sales.
– Nidal Hasan’s contacts with al-Qaeda, known to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, were never communicated to NICS.
– Jared Loughner was known to local law enforcement as having made death threats and was expelled from school after run-ins with campus police and after students and teachers said they were afraid for their safety – yet the college only moved to protect themselves, requiring him to be cleared by mental health professionals if he wished to return to school. Of course, since there was no follow up to any of this, NICS did not prevent Loughner from legally purchasing a handgun.
I am reminded of Gavin de Becker’s excellent book “The Gift of Fear.” Gavin de Becker states that when battered spouses or stalking victims seek restraining orders, they do not solve the actual problem – they only “engage and enrage” their antagonist. Well, Pima Community College’s action was the equivalent of a restraining order, and going by the posting dates and subject matter of Loughner’s YouTube videos, it seems that he was definitely “enraged” by the college’s actions. Rather than solve the problem, this may have pushed him closer to doing what he did.
I submit that, since 9/11, intergovernmental agency communications failures have been painfully clear to the American people and to elected officials. However, there has been no strong cry to fix this at any level and between any agencies. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security was supposed to improve communication, but has only resulted in a massive, inept bureaucracy that has kept us no safer than pre-9/11 security measures. As has been shown by both the Underwear Bomber and Jared Loughner, the final line of security is composed of private citizens being alert, able, and courageous enough to take action when government and “security” agencies failed.
Even after the Virginia Tech shootings, which should have been a wake up call to administrators, mental health professionals, and police officers at college campuses nationwide, local agencies are still passing the buck, saying to themselves, “This guy sounds crazy, but that could never happen here.”
It’s high time that we ignore those screeching nonsense from atop Internet soapboxes and behind City of Chicago lecterns and start investigating why and how the exact government agencies that would enforce these imaginary new gun laws continue to fail at their jobs.