After Massacres, Gun Laws Actually Get Worse
After mass shootings like Columbine and Virginia Tech, the NRA cautions lawmakers not to act emotionally and “legislate on fresh graves.” This ruse has worked. Lawmakers passed no laws after the recent terrorist-linked Orlando and San Bernardino massacres. They passed no laws after one of their own—Rep. Giffords—was shot in the head by a legal gun owner and carrier. They certainly passed no laws after Sandy Hook.
Anyone who thinks a gun massacre, if bad enough, will lead to better gun laws has only to look at what happened after Virginia Tech. On April 16, 2007 Seung-Hui Cho, a legal gun owner with clear mental problems, killed 32 people on a college campus.
Weeks after the Cho shootings NRA lobbyists were able to convince lawmakers to keep the Tiahrt Amendment (which prohibits the ATF from sharing crime gun trace data with other law enforcement agencies except regarding a specific crime) in an Appropriations bill about to be passed. Thanks lawmakers.
Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to “protect” gun dealers and manufacturers from “politically motivated lawsuits” two years before Virginia Tech. But weeks after the Virginia Tech murders, looser not tighter gun laws resulted.
Maine defeated a gun purchase waiting period law; Missouri adopted the Castle Doctrine law (that removes a victim’s duty to retreat) and the Arizona House of Representatives expanded an existing law that says public buildings that prohibit guns must provide storage. NRA lobbyists also browbeat the Congressional Black Caucus about trying to limit gun purchases to one a month.
Yes, gun laws actually got worse after Virginia Tech!
Of course the gun lobby will say there are already enough laws (“just enforce them”) and that “criminals don’t obey laws” which only hurt “law-abiding citizens.” But a quick look at mass shooters since 1981 shows that all but 12 of more than 82 shooters were legal gun owners—the so-called “law-abiding citizens” whose rights the lobby defends! Sure the “gun show loophole” (which lets buyers avoid background checks) and “terrorist loophole” (which lets people on the Terror Watch Lists buy guns) allow murderers to arm themselves. But it is defective background checks themselves that are filling the morgues!
The gun lobby will also say that stricter gun laws will lead to tyranny, erosion of “gun rights” and eventual confiscation. Yet no industrialized country with strict gun laws–including interviews about the prospective buyer’s mental health– has turned into a tyranny. They do not even have a Second Amendment.
By admonishing lawmakers to not “legislate on fresh graves” the gun lobby keeps grieving families from asking why murderers passed their background checks despite clear signs of mental illness, racism, violent tempers, domestic abuse and sometimes terrorist sentiments, killing their loved ones.