Fresh off Hillary Clinton announcing she was going to do gun control without Congressional authority, President Barack Obama appears to be leaning the same way again. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday it was time to get serious about keeping guns from certain people.
“The president has frequently pushed his team to consider a range of executive actions that could more effectively keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn’t have access to them. That’s something that is ongoing here.”
How this is different from the 2013 executive orders, no one is saying. Earnest promises there are things which can be done that won’t affect “the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” but that’s obviously not true. Jazz wrote in 2013 how almost 35K people lost their right to own a gun because of the New York SAFE Act. The New York Times also pointed out another problem with trying to do the “others who shouldn’t have access to them” game when it comes to guns. There are plenty of people out there who might fit the profile of “mass shooters,” who don’t go out and kill people (emphasis mine).
Dr. [ Jeffrey ] Swanson of Duke said studies indicated that only 7 percent of people with a diagnosed mental illnesses might do anything violent in a year, “and that is something as minor as pushing or shoving somebody.”
With many of the killers, the signs are of anger and disappointment and solitude.
“Sure, you’ve got these risk factors, but they also describe thousands of people who are never going to commit a mass shooting,” Dr. Swanson said. “You can’t go out and round up all the alienated angry young men.”
Therein lies the problem with wanting to increase mental health standards on who can own guns. Just because someone feels depressed, angry, lonely, etc. doesn’t mean they’re going to go out and start shooting people. There are other outlets which can help people whether it’s going to church, counseling, medication, video games, writing, working out, or just talking to someone. Trying to predict how people will act is just one closer step to Minority Report and precrime. There may be people who are in favor of trying to predict the future, but as Yoda proclaimed, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is future.” There’s no way to get around this, despite how many psychoanalysis and studies are done.
Here’s another problem with Earnest’s comments: if someone thinks they need protection, they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. There was a Chicago grandfather who was arrested and charged with owning an “illegal gun” in 2012 after he used it to fight off a 19-year-old who broke into his home. Thankfully reason prevailed, in one of the few times in Chicago, and charges were dropped against the 80-year-old. But it shows the man got a gun because he believed he needed one to protect his home. Swords and warhammers aren’t always effective against a gun at less than five feet and not everyone is Green Arrow or Hawkeye. Sheldon Richman is right when he reminds everyone at Reason the only “defender guaranteed to be present at any attack against you is: you.” Unless the government is going to start assigning personal police officers for every person on the planet (and they shouldn’t even try that) the individual is best way to stop another individual from committing a crime. Donald Trump made a great point when he mentioned Death Wish over the weekend. That was a guy going out and stopping crime because the police couldn’t. It’s why characters like Batman, the Punisher, Huntress, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman (even if she was affiliated with the government at times), and the Flash are so popular. They go out and protect people who can’t protect themselves and the cops are available. Because these fictional characters are, well, fictional the only way people can be secure in their homes, apartments, cars, etc. is if they have protection against those who want to hurt them.
This is why it’s important for people to get past the emotion of “do something!” and stop and think before reacting. When people don’t try to rationally think things out it turns into reactionary, unconstitutional laws like the Patriot Act or the Alien and Sedition Acts. There’s common sense which can be used to point out why not having restrictions on guns won’t bring about the Wild West, but will bring about more safety. If a killer thinks they have free reign to attack a place because of “no guns” it’s going to keep going on, regardless of how many unconstitutional executive orders the White House passes. The responsibility shouldn’t fall on the government to “do something!” it should fall on individuals to protect themselves. That means letting guns be available, whether the government likes it or not.