Saturday, March 31, 2018

Of Laws and Men

Recently on my friend Brad Torgersen’s Facebook page, an anti-civil-rights advocate presumed to educate us by telling us that no one wanted to reduce the gun-owning rights of the law-abiding, only the criminals. When we didn’t kowtow to his massive wisdom he challenged us to tell him what effect new “sensible laws” would have on law-abiding citizens.
Of course, the answer was “all of the effects they might have.” The original commenter didn’t seem to get that. This is emblematic of what leftists can’t grasp about laws: that laws aren’t magical and words don’t compel obedience.
Look, in my day job I write science fiction and fantasy. I can write a world in which laws can’t be disobeyed; where a law passed by our legislature has the same force as the laws of physics. (Of course, it would be a pretty boring world for stories, unless I find a way for someone to break that effect.) But I also know, as most people have to know who work in fantasy universes for a living, that this is not in point of fact the world we live in.
If — in the world we live in — laws compelled obedience in and of themselves, murder would be unheard of since almost every human society since the dawn of time has had a law against it.
And yet murder, theft, and all the other lawbreaking imaginable still happen, which proves to us it is possible for people to ignore and contravene the law.
Sometimes, in fact, you have to ignore and contravene the law to survive. The black markets in various communist countries sprang up not out of the contrariness of the citizens, but because it was vital for survival. (And this is why capitalism is not an economic system. It is simply what the sub-race of apes that call themselves homo sapiens does. We trade for the goods we need. When stupid governments possessed of fantasy ideas try to regulate that, it works about as well as regulating rain. The real commerce just goes underground and becomes a black market.)
But the left piously believes in laws and that laws have the power to change people’s behavior. It’s part of their fanatical devotion to a society organized by the numbers and from the top down.
So when things go wrong – as they will, since the world is still inhabited by humans, and humans are still fallible – they say “there ought to be a law.”
Look at where this has got us, in child care, for instance. Do children get beaten to death? We should make it illegal to even give your child a smack on the behind. Do children get kidnapped while walking to school? Well, no child shall walk alone. Children get into horrible accidents on their bikes and get mangled? Your three-year-old shall have a safety helmet to ride his tricycle in the yard. Coming soon, I’m sure: Children fall down? There ought to be a law that children have to wear helmets while walking.
But the end result of this is always the same. Yeah, sure, suburban parents who are scared to death of having their children taken away now have an almost impossible burden to raise their one child and can’t even think of two, but you know what? In isolated and dysfunctional communities, be they rural or urban, kids will continue to get beaten and neglected. Why? Because their parents don’t care about the laws.
This is getting to the point of ridiculousness, where everything is regulated to the nth degree, and yet – shockingly – people who break the law don’t care about how many new laws there are. It’s the rest of the society that’s being twisted and crippled.
So, take guns. If you make it illegal to own guns, some number of Americans will turn in their guns (I almost want to say would have turned in their guns, since at this point I don’t think anyone is that naïve, but all the same) and leave themselves defenseless, because they’re good people who are horrified at the idea of doing something illegal.
But will your gang banger turn in his guns? Why? What he’s already doing is so illegal that doing it with a gun is irrelevant. If he’s already selling drugs and engaged in gang warfare, why would owning a gun scare him?
And that’s what we keep coming up against. The left’s certainty that if we just pass the RIGHT law then people will stop using guns inappropriately, or beating their children, or anything else the left hates has been driving them ever zanier since the Parkland shooting.
Take a look at the meme above, which has been making the rounds of social media. What do they think they’re saying, even? Do they really think it’s not illegal to shoot at humans with any size magazine? Do they think the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is the entire body of U.S. law? No, of course they don’t, but they think there should be some kind of a law, and if the law we have against murdering people doesn’t prevent crazy people from shooting up schools, then we obviously need more laws. More laws. More and more laws, because somewhere lies the magical word that makes all this stop and brings about paradise.
They’re by and large decent people – the followers, not the leaders – who really want everyone to live in harmony, and since they wouldn’t dream of breaking laws, then it must be a matter of finding the right law to fix everything.
Only the world is not full of people who are terrified of breaking laws, and all their piling on of laws against gun owners does is leave the law-abiding defenseless before the lawless.
To have these people learn the error of their ways in a practical fashion will only destroy the world for the rest of us. And besides, judging from Europe, they’ll never learn. They’ll just refuse to admit their plan failed and pile on more laws and more regulatory bodies, till someone’s whole job is regulating the curvature of a banana. (You only wish that were euphemistic.)
So we need to educate them. We need to educate them better when they’re younger. We need to teach them history and psychology. Not the stuff edited by their own luminaries, who are as blinkered as they are, but real history and real psychology. And we need to teach them how humans are now and have always been lawless animals. We can’t be tamed, we can’t be domesticated, and even in the most oppressive regimes devised there will never be enough to make everyone obey. There are dissidents even in places where dissidence costs you your life. There are black markets where the regimes punish them and spend most of their time suppressing them. Because when the alternative is death, humans are really good at breaking the law.
So all laws passed, everywhere affect only the law-abiding. And even the law-abiding stop being so when life is at stake.
The answer to “Your gun is now illegal” is always, in practicality “Says you and whose army?” and “Come and get it!”

No, Hillary, it’s the red states that are ‘dynamic’

No, Hillary, it’s the red states that are ‘dynamic’

By Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer 

Hillary Clinton is being universally panned by Republicans and Democrats for her rant last week in India against Trump voters. She boasted, “I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”

As evidence, she pointed to places like Illinois and Connecticut — where she won by sizable margins. Then she added that those who voted against her “didn’t like black people getting rights, and don’t like women getting jobs.”

Our guess is that Hillary Clinton’s words didn’t go over very well in Arkansas, the state that she once served as first lady. She lost Arkansas: Trump 60.6 percent, Clinton 33.7 percent. Her speech was offensive and filled with arrogance for sure (and a reprise of her 2016 description of Trump voters as “deplorables” and “irredeemables”), but what hasn’t been corrected for the record is that Mrs. Clinton had her facts wrong.

Hillary Clinton’s assessment of how the red Trump states are performing economically versus the blue Clinton states was backward. For at least the last two decades, most of the dynamism and growth — as measured by population movements, income growth and job creation — has been fleeing from the once-economically dominant blue states that Mrs. Clinton won, and relocating to the red states that Donald Trump won.

Here’s the evidence. Of the 12 blue states that Hillary Clinton won by the largest percentage margins — Hawaii, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware — all but three of them lost residents through domestic migration (excluding immigration) over the last 10 years.

In fact combined, all 12 Hillary Clinton states lost an average of 6 percent of their populations to net out-migration over the past decade. California and New York alone lost 3 million people in the past 10 years.

Now let’s contrast the Hillary Clinton states with the 12 states that had the largest percentage margin vote for Donald Trump. Every one of them, save Wyoming, was a net population gainer — West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Kansas.

The move from blue to red states — almost 1,000 people every day — has been one of the greatest demographic stories in American history. If you go to states like Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas these days, all you see is out of blue state license plates.

Pretty much the same pattern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states carried by the widest margins by Mr. Trump had about twice the job creation rate as the bluest states carried by Mrs. Clinton.

Hillary Clinton mentioned GDP numbers. While it is true that the blue states of the two coasts and several of the Midwestern states are richer than the redder states of the South and mountain regions over recent decades, she failed to mention the giant transfer of wealth from Clinton to Trump states.

IRS tax return data confirm that from 2006-2016 Hillary Clinton’s states lost $113.6 billion in combined wealth, whereas Donald Trump’s states gained $116.0 billion.

The Hillary Clinton states are in a slow bleed. That is in no small part because the deep blue states that she carried have adopted the entire “progressive” playbook: High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy hand of regulation. Excessive minimum wages. War on fossil fuels. These states dutifully check all the progressive boxes.

And the U-Haul company can barely keep up with the demand for trucks and moving vans to get out of these worker paradises. A recent Gallup Poll asked Americans if they would want to move out of their current state of residency. Five states had more than 40 percent of its respondents answer yes: They were: Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island and Maryland. Hillary Clinton country.

Even more unbelievable to us was Mrs. Clinton citing Connecticut and Illinois as dynamic places. There probably isn’t another state in America that can match these two for financial despair and incompetence. Things are so bad in Illinois after decades of left-wing rule in Springfield that Illinois residents are now fleeing on net to West Virginia and Kentucky to find a better future.

Connecticut has raised income and other taxes three times in the last four years and still has one of the most debilitating budget deficits in the nation. The pension systems are so many billions of dollars in the red, they are technically bankrupt.

Even when it comes to income inequality, the left’s favorite measure of progressive success, blue states carried by Mrs. Clinton fare worse than red states. According to a 2016 report by the Economic Policy institute, three of the states with the largest gaps between rich and poor are those progressive icons New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Sure, Boston, Manhattan and Silicon Valley are booming as the rich prosper. But outside these areas are deep pockets of poverty and wage stagnation.

The “progressive” tax and spend agenda has been put on trial. Not only do the policies lead to much slower growth, they also benefit the rich and politically well-connected at the expense of everyone else.

Getting these statistics right — about where the growth and dynamism is really happening in America — is important because if we want to be a prosperous nation, we need to learn what works and what doesn’t.

We need national economic policies that have been shown to work at the state level. Donald Trump wants to make America look like Florida and Tennessee. Hillary Clinton wanted to make America look more like Illinois and Connecticut. Maybe that’s the real reason why she lost.

• Stephen Moore is an editorial contributor to the Washington Times and a senior fellow with the Heritage Foundation. He is also an economic consultant with Freedom Works. Arthur Laffer is chairman of Laffer Associates.

Opinion: School Gun Control Texas-Style

Opinion: School Gun Control Texas-Style

Opinion: School Gun Control Texas-Style
Before my first mug of coffee this morning, yet another in the long line of interviews with a Stoneman-Douglas student wanting stricter gun control laws greeted me. This child sat there looking oh-so-serious as he proclaimed everything but small handguns that could be used for home defense should be banned. Then he went on to say being allowed to own even those few guns on his approved list should be much harder than current law provides. Everyone wanting to have a gun should undergo mental health testing. They should be at least 21. His demands went on and on. Oh, his reasoning? It was only “common sense”.
The problem with this “common sense” approach is that it won’t solve anything. As we learned with Prohibition, outlawing something doesn’t mean it will suddenly vanish from the streets. The black market that already exists for guns will only grow larger and stronger. The only ones who will obey the law are, well, those who do now. Instead of having a database, flawed though it might be, for registering gun owners, we’d have none.
I’ll even admit to wondering if he thought we ought to undergo mental health testing to own a knife or drive a car. After all, those could be seen as instruments of violence. In 2014, a sophomore wounded 24 in a Pennsylvania school. His weapons? Two knives. This year, a knife attack in a Russian school left at least 12 wounded. In Prince Georges County, two students were injured in a knife attack. Then there was the attack at a Nampa school where the culprit was stopped by a fellow student. Of those four, three occurred this year. Yet where are the calls for knife control?
Banning civilian ownership of semi-automatic weapons isn’t the answer to the problem of school security. Nor is it the answer to stopping those students or other potential suspects who might one day pick up a gun – or a knife – and go on a rampage. Someone determined to get a gun and use it will find a way. History has shown us that.
So what should we do to protect our schools?
One solution is to follow the example set by Texas.
Arguably, the deterrence factor is even more important. It shouldn’t take an academic study to prove that shooters are far less likely to target a school that will offer resistance. It’s commonsense. Those willing to shoot defenseless children are deranged, evil men, and the only thing such men respond to is force. They are cowards, and the prospect of return fire is the only thing likely to convince them to leave a school alone.
One way Texas does this is by allowing school districts to designate administrators and teachers who act as “guardians”. These guardians are allowed to carry concealed on campus. The identities of who these guardians are isn’t publicized. In fact, in most instances, their fellow teachers and administrators won’t even know. Think of them as the super heroes of the school. Mild-mannered teachers by day, guardians when needed.
As noted in “On Guns and Virtue-Signaling”, these teachers and administrators undergo not only the usual requirements necessary to qualify for a concealed carry permit but additional training and, in most districts, mental health evaluations as well. Currently, there are 170 districts in Texas that allow these special “guardians” or “marshals”.
Despite media suggestions to the contrary, the system has been working in Texas and can in other parts of the country. As The Hill notes, “There have been no shootings, intentional or otherwise, at any participating districts in Texas. Teachers and students feel — and in fact are — safer coming into work.”
As a parent, ask yourself if you prefer waiting minutes for law enforcement to be notified and respond to a possible school shooting or if you’d rather know your child was protected by teachers and administrators committed to obtaining the training and qualifying for the privilege of carrying a weapon in order to keep another tragedy from happening.
Rick Mauch Special to the Star-Telegram
While you’re doing that, think about something else. Which school is a shooter more likely to target: the one he knows has no “guardians” in it or the one where it is public knowledge that there are not only armed school resource officers but also armed teachers and administrators? Which would be the path of least resistance to someone determined to cause death and destruction?
If your answer is the school that remains a “gun-free zone”, you’re right. So isn’t it time to do away with that so-called safety measure and take a real step toward making sure our children are safe?

Friday, March 30, 2018



The Inspector General of the Department of Justice announced yesterday that he will investigate potential abuse of the FISA process by the FBI in connection with its surveillance of Carter Page, and perhaps more broadly of the Trump presidential campaign:
Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person. As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source. Additionally, the OIG will review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.
If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
The “alleged source” is Christopher Steele. The quality of the Inspector General’s multiple investigations remains to be seen. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a month ago that he would ask the IG to look into the FISA scandal, which prompted this response by President Trump:
Trump’s observations are, I think, well taken.
In related news, the House Judiciary Committee has finally subpoenaed approximately 1.2 million documents that relate to the FBI’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton. These are documents that were requested long ago, but because of the Bureau’s delay in getting them produced to the committee, the committee has finally issued a subpoena. The FBI says it is now stepping up its efforts. This is FBI Director Christopher Wray:
Up until today, we have dedicated 27 FBI staff to review the records that are potentially responsive to Chairman Goodlatte’s requests. The actual number of documents responsive to this request is likely in the thousands. Regardless, I agree that the current pace of production is too slow.
Accordingly, I am doubling the number of assigned FBI staff, for a total of 54, to cover two shifts per day from 8 a.m. to midnight to expedite completion of this project.
These investigative processes are all inadequate. To take just one example, I have never understood why Congressional committees begin by asking politely for documents, which are produced (if at all) at the discretion of the agency in question, rather than leading with a subpoena as would always be done in civil litigation. The clock is running: the Democrats will probably take the House in November, and I assume they will shut down all investigations into the Obama administration.
Let’s finish with Devin Nunes on Sean Hannity’s show last night:
Quotable quote:
I talked to a few members of Congress today. These are people who don’t follow this closely. Not on the House Intelligence Committee but follow it by the news. They were shocked and used expletives. They could not believe that the Obama White House was briefed by the FBI on an investigation into the Trump campaign. They could not believe it. I think that’s the reaction you are getting from most people in Congress that care about this issue, at least the Republicans and the American people. It continues to stink.

The canonization of teenagers.

The canonization of teenagers.

I feel as though, because children were murdered, I shouldn't be expressing shock at bad taste, but I don't think it's just aesthetics that I find so troubling....

You can read the article here. Excerpt:
[L]ifting her eyes and staring into the distance before her, González stood in silence. Inhaling and exhaling deeply—the microphone caught the susurration, like waves lapping a shoreline—González’s face was stoic, tragic. Her expression shifted only minutely, but each shift—her nostrils flaring, or her eyelids batting tightly closed—registered vast emotion. Tears rolled down her cheeks; she did not wipe them away.....

In its restraint, its symbolism, and its palpable emotion, González’s silence was a remarkable piece of political expression. Her appearance also offered an uncanny echo of one of the most indelible performances in the history of cinema: that of Renée Maria Falconetti, who starred in Carl Theodor Dreyer’s classic silent film from 1928, “The Passion of Joan of Arc.”... Falconetti, who never made another movie, gives an extraordinary performance, her face registering at different moments rapture, fear, defiance, and transcendence... [W]hen Joan knows that she is to be martyred, Dreyer’s camera lingers on closeups of Falconetti, with her brutally close-cropped hair, her rough garments, and her anguished silence. Her extraordinary image in that sequence could be intercut almost seamlessly with footage from Saturday’s rally....

Our potential saviors gleam all the more brightly against the pervasive political and civic darkness of the moment.
I become very uneasy when politics looks like religion.

The word "passion" in "The Passion of Joan of Arc" is based on the meaning "The sufferings of Jesus in the last days of his life, from the Last Supper to his death; the Crucifixion itself" which has been extended to "The sufferings of a martyr, martyrdom" (OED). Joan of Arc was martyred, killed because of her adherence to Christianity.

Should the suffering of someone who was shot — or who huddled in fear of getting shot — by an evil/insane gunman be called The Passion? The closeups of Falconetti and paintings of the Crucifixion reinforce religious faith. If you engage with these images, you experience vicarious suffering, and perhaps you feel you should — you do — believe what was so important to them that they died like that.

But a child in a school shooting has no internal beliefs that brought her to the place where she is suffering. No opponent of her beliefs is putting her to the test. And she would gladly run away if she could. Yes, González made a powerful demonstration of how terrible it is to be caught in a school shooting. But it would be a mistake to take the idea of that suffering and merge it with beliefs that we ought to adopt because of that suffering. The policy proposals of gun control are not the equivalent of the Christian religion. The children happened to be caught, horribly, in a very bad place, but that was happenstance, not because of their belief in gun control.



The Left has enlisted Big Tech to help suppress conservative activism and conservative ideas. We are seeing this on a number of fronts, one of the more recent (March 1) being Microsoft. Microsoft announced a new Service Agreement effective May 1 that applies to the company’s “consumer products, websites, and services.” Those include the Office suite, Xbox and Skype, among others.
The new Service Agreement includes a Code of Conduct:
a. By agreeing to these Terms, you’re agreeing that, when using the Services, you will follow these rules:
i. Don’t do anything illegal.
ii. Don’t engage in any activity that exploits, harms, or threatens to harm children.
iii. Don’t send spam. Spam is unwanted or unsolicited bulk email, postings, contact requests, SMS (text messages), or instant messages.
iv. Don’t publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).
v. Don’t engage in activity that is fraudulent, false or misleading (e.g., asking for money under false pretenses, impersonating someone else, manipulating the Services to increase play count, or affect rankings, ratings, or comments).
vi. Don’t circumvent any restrictions on access to or availability of the Services.
vii. Don’t engage in activity that is harmful to you, the Services, or others (e.g., transmitting viruses, stalking, posting terrorist content, communicating hate speech, or advocating violence against others).
viii. Don’t infringe upon the rights of others (e.g., unauthorized sharing of copyrighted music or other copyrighted material, resale or other distribution of Bing maps, or photographs).
ix. Don’t engage in activity that violates the privacy of others.
x. Don’t help others break these rules.
Some elements of this Code are uncontroversial, while others obviously are subject to abuse. “Inappropriate content or material” could cover just about anything. I would put pretty much the entire contents of the New York Times in that category. “Offensive language” is similarly broad. Offensive to whom? David Hogg? Or me? I think we know how Microsoft’s censors will answer that question.
Likewise, Microsoft’s ban on “false or misleading” content sounds like an attack on “fake news,” but again, I might consider much of what the Washington Post publishes as false or misleading. I don’t think that is what Microsoft has in mind, however. And does Microsoft seriously intend to police conversation on Skype to ensure that no one says anything that is false or misleading? Good luck with that.
Similarly with the ban on “hate speech,” a concept beloved by the Left but otherwise undefined. One thing you can be sure of is that nothing anyone says about a conservative, or about President Trump or any member of his administration, can be hate speech. Beyond that, it’s open season.
And finally: Microsoft says it may enforce laws against unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material and improper distribution of photographs, among other things. On its face, that may seem reasonable. But the extent to which copyrighted material can be quoted under the doctrine of fair use is up for grabs, with little guidance in the case law. People like us quote copyrighted material all the time.
Similarly, photographs and other images are promiscuously disseminated on the internet. Google Images, by far the main source of photos and other images, has recently added a disclaimer to each image that it displays: “Images may be subject to copyright.” Good luck with that! Probably a large majority of uses of Google Images, of which there must be billions annually, at least arguably violate someone’s copyright. This is an area of the law that is in flux, where the boundaries are unknown. The opportunity for selective enforcement is obvious.
Microsoft proposes to enforce these rules through its access to your “Content,” as defined in the Code.
The problem, of course, is that Microsoft’s censors inevitably will be liberals. Liberals will decide what is “offensive,” or “inappropriate,” or “false or misleading,” or “hate speech,” or a violation of copyright laws, the parameters of which, in the relevant context, no one knows. You can see where this is going.
Happily, Microsoft doesn’t have a large presence on the internet. (My impression is that just about all the money Microsoft earns comes from Windows, Word, Excel and Power Point licenses paid for by companies. Pretty much everything else Microsoft has tried has been a failure.) But the trend is consistent: the Big Tech firms are lining up behind the Left to enforce a less-than-free speech regime that draws on the insanity we see on today’s college campuses.
Nothing about this is good. The question is what to do about it. Some, like Glenn Reynolds, say the Big Tech companies should be broken up under the antitrust laws. Others advocate diversity, in the form of spontaneously-arising conservative or neutral tech companies. Maybe the courts will intervene, at some point, to treat Big Tech companies as utilities. My own preference is for diversity, but network effects have inexorably driven online services toward monopoly. (In another universe, maybe MySpace could have been a conservative alternative.) For the foreseeable future, conservatives will need to be alert to efforts by the Left to use friendly tech companies to tilt the playing field in favor of the Left.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

6 Reasons Gun Control Will Not Solve Mass Killings

John G. Malcolm, Amy Swearer

Here are the facts. 

6 Reasons Gun Control Will Not Solve Mass Killings
In the wake of the tragic murder of 17 innocent students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students, educators, politicians, and activists are searching for solutions to prevent future school shootings.
As emotions morph from grief to anger to resolve, it is vitally important to supply facts so that policymakers and professionals can fashion solutions based on objective data rather than well-intended but misguided emotional fixes.
Are there ways to reduce gun violence and school shootings? Yes, but only after objectively assessing the facts and working collaboratively to fashion common-sense solutions.
-“Mass shooting” typically refers to mass killings perpetrated by a firearm or firearms. In 2013, Congress defined “mass killing” as “3 or more killings in a single incident.”
-A prominent 2017 study defined “mass public shootings” as incidents that occur in the absence of other criminal activity (such as robberies, drug deals, and gang-related turf wars) in which a gun is used to kill four or more victims at a public location.
1. Mass killings are rare, and mass public shootings are even rarer.
Mass killings are very rare, accounting for only 0.2 percent of homicides every year and approximately 1 percent of homicide victims.
-Only 12 percent of mass killings are mass public shootings. Most mass killings are familicides (murders of family members or intimate partners) and felony-related killings (such as robberies gone awry or gang-related “turf battles”).
-Although there has been a slight increase in the frequency of mass public shootings over the past few years, the rates are still similar to what the United States experienced in the 1980s and early 1990s.
2. Many gun control measures are not likely to be helpful.
-Over 90 percent of public mass shootings take place in “gun-free zones” where civilians are not permitted to carry firearms.
-A complete ban on “assault weapons” will save very few lives: Six out of every 10 mass public shootings are carried out by handguns alone, while only one in 10 is committed with a rifle alone.
-The average age of mass public shooters is 34, which means that increasing the minimum age for purchasing firearms would not target the main perpetrators of mass public shootings.
-Few mass public shooters have used “high-capacity magazines,” and there is no evidence that the lethality of their attacks would have been affected by delays of two to four seconds to switch magazines. In fact, some of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history were carried out with “low-capacity” weapons:
-The Virginia Tech shooter killed 32 and injured 17 with two handguns, one of which had a 10-round magazine and the other a 15-round magazine. He simply brought 19 extra magazines.
-Twenty-three people were killed and another 20 injured in a Killeen, Texas, cafeteria by a man with two 9mm handguns, capable of maximums of 15-round and 17-round magazines, respectively.
-A mentally disturbed man armed with two handguns and a shotgun shot and killed 21 people in a San Ysidro McDonald’s and injured another 19. The handguns utilized 13-round and 20-round magazines, and the shotgun had a five-round capacity.
3. Public mass shooters typically have histories of mental health issues.
-According to one study, 60 percent of mass public shooters had been diagnosed with a mental disorder or had demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack.
-A large body of research shows a statistical link between mass public killings and serious untreated psychiatric illness. The most commonly diagnosed illnesses among mass public shooters are paranoid schizophrenia and severe depression.

-It is important to remember that the vast majority of people with mental disorders do not engage in violent behaviors, and there is no empirical means of effectively identifying potential mass murderers.
4. The United States does not have an extraordinary problem with mass public shootings compared to other developed countries.
-After adjusting for population differences, many other developed countries have worse problems with mass public shootings than the United States has.
-There were 27 percent more casualties per capita from mass public shootings in the European Union than in the U.S. from 2009 to 2015.
5. Mass killers often find ways to kill even without firearms.
-Some of the worst mass killings in the United States have occurred without firearms:
-Before the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, the deadliest attack on the LGBT community in America occurred in 1973 when an arsonist killed 32 and injured 15 at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans.
-In 1987, a disgruntled former airline employee killed 43 people after he hijacked and intentionally crashed a passenger plane.
-In 1990, an angry ex-lover burned down the Happy Land social clubwhere his former girlfriend worked, killing 87 others in the process.
-In 1995, 168 people were killed and more than 600 were injured by a truck bomb parked outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
-In 2017, a man in New York City killed eight and injured 11 by renting a truck and plowing down pedestrians on a Manhattan bike path.
  • In other countries, bombings, mass stabbings, and car attacks frequently kill more people than even the deadliest mass shootings in the United States. Consider the following:
    • Spain (2004) — Bombing: 192 deaths, 2,050 injuries;
    • Great Britain (2005) — Bombing: 52 deaths, 784 injuries;
    • Japan (2008) — Car ramming and stabbing: seven deaths, 10 injuries;
    • China (2010) — Shovel-loader: 11 deaths, 30 injuries;
    • China (2014) — Car ramming: six deaths, 13 injuries;
    • China (2014) — Mass stabbing: 31 deaths, 143 injuries;
    • Germany (2015) — Plane crash: 150 deaths;
    • Belgium (2016) — Bombing: 21 deaths, 180 injuries;
    • France (2016) — Car ramming: 86 deaths, 434 injuries;
    • Germany (2016) — Car ramming: 11 deaths, 56 injuries;
    • Japan (2016) — Mass stabbing: 19 deaths, 45 injuries; and
    • Great Britain (2017) — Bombing: 22 deaths, 250 injuries.
6. Australia did not “eliminate mass public shootings” by banning assault weapons.
-Australia did not “eliminate mass public shootings” by banning assault weapons. Mass shootings in the country were rare before the 1996 National Firearms Act, and multiple-casualty shootings still occur.
-Before 1996, firearms crimes in Australia rarely involved firearms prohibited under the National Firearms Act, suggesting that any change in firearm-related crimes or deaths was not due to the law.
-Further, Australia did not see a reduction in “mass murders.” In the years immediately following enactment of the National Firearms Act, the country experienced six mass murders in which five or more people were killed—they just were not killed with guns.
This first appeared in The Daily Signal here.