After Las Vegas Shooting, Facts, Not Emotions, Are Needed In Gun Debate | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Gun Laws: It is utterly predictable that, after a mass shooting, there are urgent pleadings for “gun control” laws. It’s also predictable that any facts about gun laws and gun violence will be tossed aside.

After the shooting in Las Vegas, which left 59 dead and more than 500 injured, Caleb Keeter, guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, which was on stage at a country music festival when Stephen Paddock started shooting, announced that he’d changed his mind about guns.

“I’ve been a proponent of the Second Amendment my whole life. Until the events of last night,” Keeter said in a statement. “I cannot express how wrong I was. … Enough is enough. … We need gun control RIGHT. NOW.”

Keeter’s response no doubt reflects how many people felt after the shootings. It’s also a reflection how little thought most people put into this issue before spouting off.

What sort of “gun control” does Keeter support? What new law would have prevented this tragedy? Is Keeter advocating taking guns away from law-abiding citizens?

Likewise, late night talk show host Stephen Colbert’s lecture to the nation amounted to saying that “anything” was better than nothing when it comes to gun control.

Others are saying that the National Rifle Association and Republicans in Congress have blood on their hands for this shooting because they blocked previous gun control measures — laws that, even if they were on the books, would almost certainly have done nothing to prevent Sunday night’s rampage.

How about, instead of indulging in emotional responses and name-calling, these people offered the public some pertinent facts that would help enlighten the debate? Here are three:

1. More gun laws won’t mean fewer homicides or mass shootings. Gun control advocates claim that there’s a direct relationship between state gun-control laws and gun-related fatalities. But these numbers include suicides, which account for two-thirds of all gun deaths. Restricting the sale of new guns isn’t likely to have a significant impact on suicides.

When you look only at homicides, there’s no clear correlation between those and state gun laws.

For example, Maryland had a homicide rate of 6.1 per 100,000 population in 2014, despite getting an A rating from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which grades states on the strictness of their gun control laws. Next door Virginia, which gets a D rating, had a homicide rate of 4.1.

A-rated California and F-rated Texas had the exact same homicide rates. Gun-control-friendly Illinois had a higher homicide rate than its pro-gun neighbors, Indiana and Ohio.

If anything, there’s an inverse relationship between gun homicides and the number of guns per person. As economist Mark Perry notes, the number of guns per person has climbed more than 50% since 1994. Over those same years, the gun-related homicide rate dropped by 49%.

What’s more, of the 18 mass shootings that have taken place since 2011, only five took place in states that get an F rating from the Law Center (and two of those were committed by Islamic terrorists). However, five mass shootings took place in states with an A rating for gun control, and seven occurred in states with a C rating. Another one took place in heavily gun-controlled Washington, D.C.

2. Attacks on the NRA are disingenuous. As usual after a mass shooting, the NRA is being attacked for using its political muscle to block more gun control laws. Here’s a typical comment: “For most Hill Republicans, bucking the NRA is unfathomable. The powerful gun lobby spent more than $52 million backing candidates in the 2016 cycle alone.” Or as alleged late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel put it, Republicans “should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”

But the NRA is a relative piker when it comes to campaign donations and lobbying. In the 2016 election, labor unions outspent the NRA by more than 3 to 1. Last year, the National Association of Realtors spent twice as much lobbying Congress than all the gun rights groups combined.

The “gun lobby” — typified by the NRA — is influential only because there are millions of gun owners in the country who are passionate about defending their Second Amendment rights. The gun lobby, in fact, is one of the few genuinely grass roots groups in Washington.

So, attacks on the NRA are nothing more than veiled attacks on law-abiding gun owners — most of whom know a lot more about guns than prominent gun control advocates.

3. There are already hundreds of gun control laws on the books. Also left out of the discussion is the fact that there are, by one count, more than 270 federal laws on the books, as well as countless state laws covering gun sales and gun ownership. Will one more gun control law make any difference? That’s hard to show.

But until we have some actual facts about how Paddock amassed his arsenal and what, if anything, could have been done to prevent his crime, any talk of new gun laws is pointless. Until such facts do emerge, those counseling patience before leaping on the “gun control” bandwagon have it right.


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Originally posted 2017-10-04 07:13:55.


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