Peak Futility

The latest school shooting incident has prompted–indeed, prompted before the victims had even been buried–the usual stale anti-gun proposals. Once again, Democrats are pushing for a ban on “assault weapons,” by which they mean semiautomatic rifles that don’t have wooden stocks. My Marlin 60 has a wooden stock, so it is safe from the Democrats. It is a classic semiautomatic rifle that fathers often give their sons as a 15th or 16th birthday present.

Never mind that rifles are rarely used to commit murder, ranking well behind knives and bare hands. In 2020, rifles of all kinds–not “assault rifles”–accounted for less than 3% of homicides.

Never mind that “assault weapons” were banned from 1994 until 2004. The ban expired, unlamented, because it obviously had done no good. But the Democrats say, if at first you don’t succeed, make the same futile gesture all over again.

Never mind, too, that the homicide rate has risen during the last two years after a long period of decline, as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, the defund the police movement, and general hostility to law enforcement. Democrats are entirely unconcerned with this increase in homicides, which vastly exceeds the total number of mass shooting victims, because they find political advantage in promoting the myths that have led to the increase.

On cue, we also hear the same old nonsense about “large capacity” magazines. Anti-gunners consider 10 rounds or more to be “large capacity,” when in fact a 10-round magazine is below average for any handgun other than a carry piece. And, in any event, even a novice gun user can switch out an empty magazine for a full one in two seconds or less. Anyone intending to fire a lot of rounds will equip himself with multiple magazines.

Joe Biden came up with a new anti-gun theme when he suggested that 9 mm handguns should be banned:

Speaking to reporters outside the White House after returning to Washington from a weekend that included a visit to the site of last week’s mass shooting in Texas, Biden recounted a visit to a trauma hospital in New York, where he said doctors had showed him X-rays of gunshot wounds caused by various firearms.

“They said a .22-caliber bullet will lodge in the lung, and we can probably get it out — may be able to get it and save the life,” Biden said. “A 9mm bullet blows the lung out of the body.”

That is an insane claim.

“So the idea of these high-caliber weapons is, uh, there’s simply no rational basis for it in terms of self-protection, hunting,” the president went on.

9 mm is a medium-caliber, not a high-caliber, cartridge. Currently more than half of all pistols sold in the U.S. are 9 mm, which is the standard caliber for law enforcement agencies. An attempted ban on 9 mm firearms would undoubtedly be held unconstitutional. And–by the way–I have never heard of anyone hunting with a 9 mm pistol. The Second Amendment is not about hunting.

In this sea of futility, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler stands out. As a protest against the Uvalde school shootings, or something, he is refusing to take the field for the National Anthem. So a maniac commits mass murder, and a sensible response is to be unpatriotic? The logic escapes me. Happily, I guess, Kapler made an exception for Memorial Day and stood for the Anthem. It was big of him.

If we really care about protecting school children from deranged killers, there is a simple and practical solution: better security. If every public school in America fired a diversity consultant and hired an armed guard, it would help dramatically. Even more enlightened are the schools that encourage teachers, custodians and others who have carry permits to carry in school. In those schools, would-be murderers have no way to know how many firearms will be present, or where they might be. They will go elsewhere.

Beyond the school setting, a corollary measure is to do away with gun-free zones. Mass murderers may be crazy, but they generally aren’t stupid. They nearly always look for gun-free zones to wreak their mayhem.

Strangely, I haven’t seen Democrats talking about these practical, effective measures. Why not? I guess they sound too much like law enforcement. And if the Democrats weren’t anti-law enforcement, our homicide rate would not have spiked over the last two years.

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