Repeat after Me: Gun Control Doesn’t Work
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Here we go again. What will it take for gun-control proponents to finally get it? Gun control doesn’t work. Let me put that another way: Gun-control laws do not prevent murderers from using guns to murder people.
Yesterday, nine people were murdered at a well-known black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Upon hearing that news, a proponent of gun control would be likely to say, “That’s simply not possible. Under South Carolina law, it is illegal to carry a gun into a church. Even people with concealed carry permits cannot do so without the express permission of church officials. Since church officials would never have granted such permission, it is, therefore, impossible for those murders to have taken place.”
Can you see the illogic of that thinking? Okay, but please bear with me, because gun-control advocates have a difficult time understanding this. It important to explain to them, even if it’s for the umpteenth time, why that thinking is so illogical.
We begin with a simple-to-understand point: Murderers don’t give a hoot about murder laws. People commit murder even though there is a law that makes it a crime to murder someone.
So far, so good. That’s an easy point to understand.
Now, here’s the hard part, at least for gun-control advocates: If a murderer doesn’t give a hoot about murder laws, how likely is it that he is going to give a hoot about gun-control laws? Or to put it another way, a person who intends to murder people isn’t going to say to himself, “Golly, it’s against the law for me to have a gun and so I’m just going to have to figure out another way to murder my victims.”
Now, here’s an important question: Since gun-control laws don’t prevent murderers from using guns to murder people, does that mean that such laws are neutral in their effect?
If only that were the case, but unfortunately it isn’t. In actuality, gun-control laws produce a horrific negative consequence: They make it easier for the murderer by preventing the people who are being targeted by the murderer from defending themselves against the murderer.
Under standard gun-control laws, illegally possessing a gun is a felony. That potentially means a very long jail sentence, like 10 years in the state penitentiary. Even when it’s only a misdemeanor, the offender is facing at least a year in jail. Many prosecutors and judges do not look kindly on people who violate gun-control laws. Oftentimes, they throw the books at them.
Therefore, who wants to take the chance of being convicted of a felony or even a high-grade misdemeanor? Most regular, law-abiding people would rather not take the chance, even if the risks of getting caught with a concealed weapon in a restricted place might not be not very large.
In South Carolina, it’s illegal to carry a gun into church. Even people with concealed-carry permits are prohibited from doing so without the express permission of the church. How many people with concealed carry permits are going to go to the trouble of asking for that permission?
Ask yourself: what goes through the mind of a mass murderer, especially if he’s hoping to get away without getting shot, as the South Carolina killer did? Is he likely to pick a place where people can be armed or do you think he is he more likely to pick a gun-free zone, one where the law prohibits people from being armed?
To me, that’s a no-brainer. Have you ever heard of a mass murderer attacking people at a gun show? No, mass murderers are much more likely to go after people in schools and churches, where they can safely assume that the people they are targeting are unarmed and, therefore, unable to defend themselves from the onslaught.
An important point to bear in mind here: Even if people are not armed in a particular place, they are still safer if the law leaves them free to be armed. That’s because in such places, since mass murderers don’t know whether people there are carrying concealed weapons or not, they are less likely to want to take a chance that someone is armed. On the other hand, in places where it’s a felony or misdemeanor to be armed, the mass murderer can feel relative safe as he begins shooting his victims.
We’ll never know, of course, whether the deceased victims in that South Carolina church would have been armed if the law had extended the full coverage of concealed carry to churches. But all that would have been necessary is for one of them to be armed for them to have had a fighting chance.
What we do know is that gun control disarms regular, law-abiding people, thereby making it impossible for them to defend themselves against mass murderers. We also know that when a mass murderer targets a gun-free zone like schools and churches, he’s likely to find a target-rich environment.
There is but one solution to this mayhem: Repeal gun-control laws. Leave people free to defend themselves from murderers.