Gun Control Irony

“This is gonna work.  It’s a movie, I’m a good guy, this has got to work . . . I’m a comedy sidekick . . . Oh, sh#t! I’m a comedy sidekick! IT’S NOT GONNA WORK!”

            —Austin O’Brien as Danny Madigan in Last Action Hero


Does the guy ever give the politicking a rest?  Is there anything he won’t try to exploit for his political agenda?

Last Monday a disgruntled and apparently disturbed Aaron Alexis entered the Navy Yard complex in Washington, D.C., and killed twelve people before being killed himself in a gun battle with police.  President Obama went ahead with a previously-scheduled press address set for the purpose of bashing Congressional Republicans over budget issues while the shooting was still in progress.  He did take a brief minute from his pre-prepared remarks to acknowledge the tragedy, but even then he couldn’t refrain from waxing political, lamenting “yet another mass shooting.”

The victims’ bodies weren’t yet cold, and Obama was already setting up to use their deaths to push for gun control.

On Sunday he was at it again, this time cynically using a memorial service with the victims’ familes as a political pulpit, saying that the need for gun control “ought to obsess us.”  He went on to call for correction of laws that fail “to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people.” Clearly someone is obsessed with something.

This is beyond tasteless.  It is one thing to use the incident as anecdotal evidence in support of a political argument.  It is quite another to co-opt a funeral in order to make the point.  I mean, really?  Can’t you let these people grieve without turning their grieving into a political stage?  There is nothing about Obama’s gun control pitch that couldn’t have waited until Monday, and his insistence on using the families’ sorrow for gross political theatrics was at best callous and crass.

Same as it ever was.

It is more than a little ironic to hear cries for more laws to keep guns away from “criminals and dangerous people” coming from an administration responsible for Operation Fast & Furious, in which the Justice Department deliberately allowed thousands of guns, including .50 caliber sniper rifles and AK-47s, to flow into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, ultimately leading to the murder of U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry.  This is also the same administration that recently waived federal law so it could supply weapons to rebel forces in Syria that it has openly admitted include elements of al-Qaeda (of course, you won’t see anything about that in the mainstream media).

Apparently drug lords and terrorists are neither criminals, nor dangerous.  But you, American Citizen, are.

And that’s not the end of the irony.  The President wants to use the Navy Yard incident as the impetus for more gun control, and presumably the logic is that more stringent legislation in the form of bans or background check requirements (or both) would have prevented it (and thus enacting it now will prevent similar tragedies in the future).  But the Navy Yard incident is a curious gun control poster child indeed, because the shooting took place in the District of Columbia, where guns are already effectively banned.  All guns—handguns, rifles, shotguns—must be registered with the D.C. police, and possession requires a separate permit, training, and qualifying exam.  You can’t even transport legally-owned guns through the District; just ask Army Lieutenant Augustine Kim, who had his gun collection—secured in his trunk as required under federal law—confiscated by D.C. police when he stopped at Walter Reed Hospital for treatment of battle wounds. 

Moreover, contrary to initial reports from a media rabid to take the bait and link the shooting to the evils of “assault weapons,” the Navy Yard killer did not have an AR-15; he had a shotgun, the very weapon Genius Joe Biden told us last spring was all you legitimately needed to own. 

Just stand on the balcony and fire a couple of blasts from a double-barrel (of course, then you have to stop and reload).

The Navy Yard killer had also obviously passed the background checks necessary to join the U.S. Navy, and later to gain admittance to the Navy Yard as a civilian contractor.  So it is not clear to me what sort of additional “gun control” legislation we should be obsessed to enact in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting; guns were already banned in D.C., and the shooter’s background had already been looked into.  Neither measure prevented the tragedy.    

Furthering the irony, Obama’s comments Sunday came on the heels of an incident in Obama’s hometown of Chicago Thursday night in which gang members opened fire on a pickup basketball game, wounding thirteen—something he has curiously not mentioned at all.  The weapon of choice there appears to have been a “military grade” AK-47, a gun already requiring a federal class III permit to own—which virtually no one has—and already illegal to possess in Chicago even with the federal permit.  So like the Navy Yard shootings, the Chicago shootings took place in a locale that already has some of the most stringent gun restrictions in the country, and in the Chicago case including an outright ban of the specific weapon used.  And one suspects that gang members aren’t ones to stand on ceremony when it comes to submitting to registration and background check requirements.

The Navy Yard and recent Chicago shootings demonstrate that gun control laws won’t and can’t stop these sorts of tragedies.  Criminals—by definition (something oddly lost on the intellectuals on the Left)—do not abide by laws, so the idea that adding another law, whether in the form of a ban or a background check or registration requirement (all of which were already in place in both D.C. and Chicago), is going to stop them from what they intend to do is folly.  While I have some sympathy for the argument that we need more stringent vetting to ensure that the insane do not gain access to guns, I am very leery of a mechanism that ultimately puts peoples’ Constitutional rights at the mercy of someone else’s subjective judgment; what happens when an anti-gun zealot gets himself appointed head of the psychiatric review board and suddenly every applicant is ab initio found to be criminally insane precisely because they submitted a gun application?

It is worth keeping in mind—as Glenn Beck points out so well in his new book Control—despite media hysteria and sensationalism creating the impression of an epidemic of mass shootings, incidents of this nature are in fact extremely rare.  Nor are they unique to the “gun-crazed” culture of the U.S.; they can and do happen elsewhere, even in places that practice the strict gun control Obama and others advocate here.  Crazy people will always be with us, and sometimes they’re dangerous.  I’ve made this point before: Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with $250 of fertilizer.  You simply can’t legislate away the dangers of insanity and evil.

Gun control laws do not stop bad guys with guns.  Good guys with guns do. 


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