The gun control movement never misses an opportunity to exploit a mass shooting for its agenda. Sandy Hook was no exception, and the shooting at a school in Colorado will surely reignite the outrage and demands for more gun control will be made. Last April, the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey plan to expand background checks for gun buyers failed in the Senate, and that’s a good thing – that legislation would not have done a thing to prevent mass shootings. Politicians who advocate for more gun control are appealing to emotion – we have to do something about the problem, right? But would more strict gun control laws help? Would more stringent background checks (including those on private transfers and sales, as Machin-Toomey proposed) prevent guns from falling into the hands of someone with ill intent? An examination of past mass shootings can help answer those questions. Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review Online, in his Gun Control Dishonesty article, cited a list of massacres that have occurred in recent years. Here are 12 that happened prior to 2013. Pay close attention to how the weapons used were attained:
- In December of last year, Jacob Tyler Roberts stole a Stag Arms AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and killed two people in Portland, Oregon.
- In September of 2012, Andrew John Engeldinger went on a shooting rampage in Minneapolis after he had been fired. Engeldinger used a Glock 19 handgun that he had bought legally from a licensed dealer. He passed the background check that is mandatory for all commercial sales.
- In August last year, Wade Michael Page killed six members of a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page was an Army veteran, and because his discharge was “general” not “dishonorable” he was legally allowed to buy firearms. This he did, buying the handgun that he used in the shooting at a gun shop in West Allis, Wisconsin, and passing the background checks without a hitch.
- In July, James Holmes killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Over a period of time, Holmes legally purchased two Glock 22 pistols, a Remington 870, and Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle. All the weapons were purchased from licensed dealers, and Holmes passed background checks on each occasion.
- In May of 2012, Ian Lee Stawicki murdered five people at the Café Racer Espresso in Seattle, Washington. Stawicki legally purchased two .45-caliber handguns for his spree, before which he had legally purchased four other firearms. Stawicki not only passed background checks on all six occasions, but he had a concealed-carry permit too.
- In April 2012, Jake England and Alvin Watts killed three black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an apparently racially motivated attack. The guns they used were legally owned.
- In April of 2012, One L. Goh walked into Oikos University [in Oakland, Calfornia] and murdered seven people. Goh used a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and four 10-round magazines, all of which he had purchased legally from a licensed dealer. He passed a background check and abided by California’s ten-day waiting period.
- In February 2012, Thomas “TK” Lane used a .22 caliber handgun to shoot three people dead at Chardon High School in Ohio. Authorities reported that Lane had stolen the .22-caliber handgun from his uncle, who had purchased it legally.
- In October 2011, Scott Evans Dekraai killed eight people in Seal Beach, California. Dekraai used a 9mm Springfield pistol, a .45-caliber Heckler & Koch pistol, and a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson revolver. All the guns were legally purchased. Just over a year earlier, Dekraai had been under a restraining order that had barred him from possessing firearms. This had expired at the time of the shooting.
- In September of 2011, Eduardo Sencion shot 5 people dead in an International House of Pancakes in Nevada. The rifle Sencion used was not only banned in America, but the company that made it was prohibited from selling or moving its products into the United States. Indeed, nobody knows how Sencion got hold of the weapon. Reports are unclear, but some suggest that the perpetrator illegally converted the weapon from semi-automatic to fully automatic.
- In November of this year, Paul Ciancia murdered a TSA agent at LAX. Ciancia used a .223-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle that he had modified and which was therefore illegal in the state; he brought with him five 30-round magazines, which have been illegal in California since 2000; and he walked happily into an airport, which is by definition a gun-free zone. Authorities told the Huffington Post that Ciancia acquired his guns legally: “He didn’t buy them on the street. He didn’t buy them on the Internet. He bought them from a licensed gun dealer.”
- In September, Aaron Alexis killed 12 people at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. Alexis had patronized a licensed dealer in Virginia and bought a Remington 870 shotgun that is so common that it is even legal in England. He had passed a background check. To commit his crime, he went onto a locked-down, “gun-free” military base, in a city in which carrying firearms is flatly prohibited.
Cooke also referenced two pre-2011 shootings – and last year’s school massacre – that prompted people to “do something”:
Jared Loughner, who shot Representative Gabby Giffords and murdered six other people, bought his 9mm Glock pistol legally. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech student who was responsible for the most deadly shooting spree in American history, bought a .22 caliber Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol and a 9mm Glock 19 semiautomatic pistol from licensed dealers, and passed background checks on both occasions. And, of course, the guns used at Newtown were legally purchased by the perpetrator’s mother and then stolen by her son.
All of these shootings have something in common: none of the weapons used were purchased through an unregulated private sale or at a gun show. Yet, anti-gun activists and some legislators believe (or do they?) that more strict background checks will miraculously prevent additional gun-related tragedies. Cooke noted that in these cases, “Either (a) the killer followed the law to the letter, or (b) he broke it spectacularly.” In her April 9, 2013 Washington Post column “The Balm of Gun Control”, Kathleen Parker posed this question:
If a law isn’t enforceable, is it a good law? Does it prevent Newtown for neighbors to run through a little ritual that creates yet another level of government oversight for no real practical purpose other than to create a gun registry, which gun-control advocates insist they don’t want?
She makes the following points:
More gun control, especially in the form of enhanced background checks, is never going to prevent mass shootings (or any shooting) from happening if the will is there. Enacting more stringent background checks is a feel-good measure designed to appease the public and make it appear as if officials are taking action. Criminals will always have guns. More gun control regulation will only hinder law-abiding citizens from being able to protect their lives and those of their families – and perhaps, from protecting your life as well.
Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple. Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”