BY BOB BARR
What makes a mass shooter capable of emotionless, indiscriminate killing remains largely a mystery. Such a depraved act is not within the normal programming of a human being, not even for most hardened criminals. We may never truly understand all the factors, both physiological and environmental, that turn angry people into mass killers, but there is much we do know and can figure out, if common sense is our guide.
Since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, the mass shooting phenomenon has been intensively studied by experts in a number of disciplines, from law enforcement to sociology and psychiatry. The research has revealed patterns and understandings that have led to life-saving techniques for responding to mass shootings, such as law enforcement confronting the shooters quickly rather than waiting for a tactical approach, and implementing threat assessment protocols to identify at-risk individuals and get them needed help before reaching a tipping point.
Noticeably absent from this school of research is any evidence of a pattern regarding the firearms used to commit these killings – a point hopelessly lost on Democrats. Rather than attempt to tackle the far more complex cultural and social issues at the root of mass shootings, the answer for Democrats is always more gun control; even when such crimes occur, as often they do, in jurisdictions that already have in place extremely restrictive gun control measures. Democrats’ persistence on gun control as a response to mass killings is not just perplexing, but counterproductive and downright stupid.
With all we do know about mass shootings, there simply is no excuse for Democrats to play dumb when it comes to the irrelevancy of their gun control proposals to the reality of these heinous acts. For example, despite pretending otherwise, Democrats know that universal background checks will not stop mass shooters when there are no “disqualifying” factors present at the time of purchase – as is the case with the vast majority of mass shooters, who obtain their firearms legally.
Another favorite Democrat “solution” that, of course, is a government mandate, are “cooling off” periods. This represents yet another gun-control measure that cannot possibly work to prevent mass shootings, which often are planned over weeks and even months.
Finally, there is the call for an “assault weapon ban” that always follows close on the heels of every mass shooting incident. Arguing that the horrific social malady of mass shootings could be cured by banning certain firearms because of their appearance makes as much sense as claiming that child pornography can be prevented by outlawing certain types of cameras.
The only result of outlawing any particular category of firearms because of their appearance (such as the AR-15 rifle, the most popular sporting rifle in the country) would be to push these killers to use pistols instead, which have proven to be just as deadly.
Democrats know all of these things, but simply do not care because their real goal is to take as many guns out of as many hands as possible, including, of course, those of law-abiding parents, spouses, business owners and others who depend on being able to arm themselves to protect themselves, their families, and their businesses. Such persistence is not just dumb, it is dangerous.
What we do know about mass shootings suggests the biggest factor in limiting their damage is how quickly shooters are confronted, either by police or citizen bystanders. The FBI concluded exactly this after surveying 50 active-shooter incidents from 2016 to 2017. In its report, the Bureau stated that, “the enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”
By disarming law-abiding citizens in the name of preventing mass shootings, Democrats are directly contradicting what the FBI suggests needs to happen in order to minimize the carnage, and also could potentially make these tragedies far less common as potential mass killers, being the cowards they are, realize that what they thought to be soft targets are actually anything but.
Republicans need to discard their normal default position on the firearms policy debate, which is conflict avoidance, and call out Democrats for just what they are doing by pressing for gun control as the solution to mass shootings — making the problem worse not better.
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Bob Barr, represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990. Mr. Barr currently serves a president of The Law Enforcement Education Foundation.