The next 25 minutes was a remarkable gun-policy back and forth, with Amash arguing, among other things, that “military-style” is an amorphous definition, that most mass shootings are carried out with handguns, that red flag laws pose due-process concerns, that public opinion on the issue comes with a “knowledge problem” about such things as the definition of the word “semiautomatic,” that guns and gun rights are broadly and uniquely popular in America, that overall gun violence is down significantly over the past few decades, that people should not live their lives in fear of rare events, that ambulance-chasing legislation frequently abridges civil liberties, and that most policy proposals in the wake of mass shootings would not have impeded the shooter if retroactively applied.
“We have to be really careful about the law,” he cautioned. “Sometimes we pass laws because they make us feel good, but they didn’t do anything. And I’m afraid that a lot of the proposals we have now are the kind of things that would make us feel good but not actually resolve the problems. And some of the problems cannot be totally resolved. You can’t completely eliminate hate and violence.”
The audience was not satisfied with that answer.
“You keep saying, ‘This isn’t going to work, this isn’t going to work, this isn’t going to work,'” charged one man. But “if we didn’t have any laws governing the way in which automobile are handled, you would have a lot higher automobile fatality and accident rates then we have now. We have those laws. Do they work perfectly? No, they don’t work [perfectly], but at least we tried; we did something. And I’m not hearing anything that we need to do from you.”