Now that school shootings are back in the news again, “gun control” extremists are predictably clamoring for additional laws to be put into place to “prevent” things like this. Frequently, they have no idea what laws are presently on the books – or even how many present laws we have – but are absolutely convinced that one more will do the trick.
Here is the thing, though.
In 1933, in this very country, a teenager with enough money could literally mail-order a fully-automatic Thompson submachine gun to their very door. This is the very firearm that was used by United States troops during World War II, gangsters and police during the Prohibition, and, yes, average American citizens who wanted them.
Again, delivered to his door.
No records (aside from whatever logs the retailer kept).
No background check.
Nothing more than two peaceful Americans engaging in mutually-beneficial commerce, and thereby exercising at least three basic rights – the right to self defense, the right to own property, and the right to enter into contractual agreements with others.
Why did I choose 1933 as a seemingly arbitrary date?
Well, in 1934, everything started to change.
First came the National Firearms Act. Then came the Federal Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act, the Undetectable Firearms Act, the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, various executive orders penned by President Clinton, the activation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the agreement between Smith & Wesson and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Child Safety Lock Act, and the NICS Improvement Amendments Act.
That is quite the list, is it not?
Since 1934 with the NFA, those are all the major federal firearm regulations that were enacted (with the exclusion of the Assault Weapon Ban, which was not renewed and thus omitted), and specifically those intended to keep firearms out of schools.
Before we even talk about additional laws to prevent school shootings, we should at least examine how the previous ones are doing.
Unfortunately, thanks to “gun control” organizations repeatedly lying about school shootings, it is rather difficult to build a full picture. No US law enforcement agency has a universal definition of what constitutes a “school shooting” or even a “mass shooting”, unlike “mass murder” which is defined by the FBI as “a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders”.
So, while I hate to do this, I am going to use Wikipedia as a primary source for the number of school shootings over history. I have not yet dug through all of their references to cross-check every single shooting they note, but given that they are presently at 569 references and climbing, I may never. As such, I make no claims as to the veracity or accuracy of the data, and I exclusively accept it for the purposes of debate.
Ok, so with all these laws in place – and with unlicensed individuals bringing loaded firearms to schools being doubly illegal by way of the GFSZA and GFSA – surely these laws have been decreasing the number of shootings, yes?
It almost seems like the number of laws and the school shootings directly correlate. (Note, I am not claiming causality, in either direction – as always, correlation is not causation.)
In fact, it almost looks like those laws have accomplished… a lot of nothing.
Now, yes, there is absolutely the argument that “school shootings could be worse if we didn’t have those laws”, and it is a valid argument. The trick is this: the only way to control for whatever impact those laws may be having is to repeal them and see what happens. School shootings go up? The argument could be made that the laws were doing something. School shootings stay the same or drop? Well… the laws were not helping, so why do we have them?
And that is part of the problem – “gun control” extremists never talk about repealing anything. In fact, the current debate about affording teachers the choice to concealed-carry firearms – should they so desire – is immediately turned around by them and reframed as, “No one should be forced to carry a firearm!” No pro-rights advocate is talking about forcing anyone to do anything; we are just asking that we stop forcing them to not carry.
The unfortunate reality is that when school boards are intentionally sweeping violent and dangerous students under the rug so as to improve the public perception of their district, “more laws” is a wholly inadequate response. When the FBI was tipped off twice with regards to a school shooter and sat on the information, “more laws” will not matter. When school shooters have documented histories of holding firearms to other people’s heads and no one does anything, “more laws” are strictly a “feel good” measure.
Absolutely no one wants to see children murdered. We already have so many laws that do not appear to be accomplishing much of anything aside from unjustly limiting peaceful Americans’ rights; passing more knee-jerk laws born out of an emotional response is not the way to prevent those murders.