In the recent mass shootings at Gilroy, California, El Paso and Dayton a combined total of 36 people were killed and 64 injured, although not all the injuries were gunshot wounds.
As a result, there has been the usual outcry for universal background checks and a ban on assault style weapons and high-capacity magazines.
The Brady Center estimates that every day, 310 people are shot in the United States. About a third of those are killed and more than 200 are wounded by gunfire. There are about 60 suicides among those killed.
If you take away the suicides that leaves 250 people shot daily otherwise. Of, course there are also people who are shot accidentally. Brady estimates 90 are shot unintentionally. So, if you take away the suicides and accidental (unintentional) shootings, that leaves about 160 people that are intentionally shot every day in this country.
Although Brady is an anti-gun organization, there is no reason to think that its statistics are much off mark. And because they are so commonplace, the non-mass shootings receive hardly a blip in the media.
Many of the intentional shootings take place in the minority communities of such cities as Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Houston and other urban centers. When you take away domestic murders, that leaves us with deadly shootings committed by robbers, burglars and gangbangers, all of which belong in prison. And you can bet that whenever these shooters are caught, they will have had a lengthy arrest record.
There are about 200,000 gang members in this country and many of them are armed with pistols and a significant number with AK-47s. Every day, the gang members are shooting at each other over turf control or in retaliation for a perceived wrong or for having been shot at by a rival gang. If it were not for the fact that the gangbangers are piss-poor shots, the daily gunshot death toll would be much higher.
Former NY mayor Michael Bloomberg has been on an anti-gun crusade – he calls it gun safety – since he left office at the end of 2013. Bloomberg and Bill Clinton both claim that during the assault weapons ban, thee were fewer mass shootings than after the ban expired.
Congress enacted the 10-year Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) in 1994 In the wake of earlier mass shootings in Stockton, California and Killeen, Texas. AWB prohibited the “manufacture, transfer, and possession” of 118 firearm models and all magazines holding over 10 rounds. The law did not apply to weapons and magazines owned before the ban went into effect. When the ban took effect, there were around a million assault rifles in private citizen hands and an estimated 25 million guns were equipped with high capacity magazines. AWB was not renewed when it expired in 2004.
PolitiFact cited several studies which bring into question the effectiveness of AWB. Philip Cook at Duke University said: “Violence rates were quite volatile during that period [prior to the ban] generally for reasons that had nothing to do with gun regulation. That doesn’t mean that the ban was ineffective — only that we don’t know and probably cannot determine the answer given that the outcome of interest (mass shootings) is so rare.”
PolitiFact also reports that in a 2018 article, RAND economist Rosanna Smart reviewed two studies on the impact of the ban. She said strictly in terms of statistical methods, the results were “inconclusive.” Although one report did find that state-level bans were effective at reducing mass shooting death rates.
While Bloomberg and Clinton are probably right when they claim there were fewer mass shootings during the ban, they are nevertheless exaggerating the effectiveness of the ban.
On October 1, 2017. Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded 422 concert goers at a Las Vegas outdoor music festival. Paddock had an arsenal of 14 AR-15s, all of which were equipped with bumper stocks and twelve of which had 100-round drum magazines. He had stashed the weapons in two rooms on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel from which he shot at the concert goers below. It was the deadliest mass shooting committed by one gunman in the history of this country.
But the Las Vegas shooting was an anomaly. Most mass shootings result in far fewer deaths.
Assault weapon bans and universal background checks are not going to prevent some nutjob from shooting at a group of innocent people, although they may reduce the number of those shootings slightly.
What we need is criminal control, not gun control. Gun control impacts only law-abiding citizens.
If we could lock up the gang members who possess firearms there would be far, far fewer daily shootings as well as a very significant reduction in the number of the nation’s 200,000 gang members. Make no mistake about it, the gangbangers are criminals, regardless of their age.
Those 15 and 16-year-old gangbangers are dangerous criminals, not merely children in need of supervision, and they need to be locked up. One of Chicago’s most notorious gangbangers was Gakirah Barnes, a girl who made her first kill in 2011 at age 14 and is credited with up to 20 gangland deaths before she herself was gunned down at age 17.
When the gangbangers are arrested, they are usually found to have a lengthy arrest record, but if they are juveniles, they are treated with kid gloves. And unless they killed someone, the adult gangbangers are often just put on probation.
If we can get the gangbangers and other gun-toting criminals off of the streets and into the prisons where they belong, we won’t need gun control.
We need to pass a law that prohibits probation for and requires the incarceration of any gang member who is in possession of a firearm and anyone who commits a crime while armed with a gun. By locking these criminals up, we will reduce the number of daily shootings significantly. Then most shootings will result from domestic disputes.
Unfortunately, such laws will never see the light of day because of their disproportionate impact on minorities and because they would run counter to prison reform which calls for the emptying of the nation’s prisons.
California has the most gun control laws of any state, including a ban on assault weapons, but that did not prevent the Gilroy shooting. Short of disarming every private citizen, we will continue to see the occasional mass shooting by some nutjob. But without criminal control, the far larger number of 160 or so people shot every day by burglars, robbers and gangbangers will continue to plague us.