In today’s press briefing, the Obama White House proved what Second Amendment supporters already know: no new gun control laws, especially those proposed by the president, would have prevented any new mass shootings. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked by The Wall Street Journal’s Byron Tau if there was any shooting that could have been stopped if an assault weapons ban or stricter backgrounds checks, both supported by this administration, were enacted.
Earnest deflected and pivoted to the Obama administration’s latest proposal that those suspected of being terrorists, of which almost 300,000 on the list have no ties to terrorism, shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms. Again, on its face, this sounds like common sense, until you figure out that these lists are secretive, violate due process of law, and are nothing more than a constitutional mess. There’s a difference between being suspected and convicted of having terrorist ties, even the LA Times knows that. Moreover, as we’ve written before, there is no real way to redress if you’ve been placed on the list erroneously. Names can be mismatched, and the fact that children as young as 18 months land on the list is a testament to its horrifically flawed structure. Both parties are at fault for sustaining this unconstitutional anti-terror measure, though it seems as if the sides concerning this debate have changed; Republicans are now arguing we should curtail its expansion, while Democrats wish to utilize it to eviscerate Americans’ Second Amendment rights by ignoring due process.
Yet, the reason Earnest deployed countermeasures could be grounded in the fact that the answer doesn’t fit the president’s narrative. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on CBS’ This Morning on December 4 that “None of the major shootings that have occurred in this country over the last few months or years that have outraged us, would gun laws have prevented them.”
This earned a “rare” Geppetto mark, meaning what he said “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” from the Washington Post’s fact checker crew:
Mass Shootings since 2012
Dec. 2, 2015: Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif., using a Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 type rifle, a DPMS Panther Arms AR-15 type rifle, a Smith & Wesson semiautomatic pistol and a Llama semiautomatic pistol. The guns were purchased legally and the rifles were purchased legally by a former neighbor. Four high-capacity magazines were found, perhaps holding as many as 30 rounds.
Analysis: California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, dating from 1989, and specific types of AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles are banned. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets are also outlawed, though older, larger magazines are grandfathered. A proposals to pass a federal version of California’s law was defeated in the Senate in 2013. There are indications that the suspects illegally modified their California-compliant weapons. In any case, the laws did not thwart them. (Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, in 2013 vetoed a bill that would have toughened the law, but the guns used in the attack were purchased before the law would have taken effect.)
Oct. 1, 2015: Christopher Harper-Mercer killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. He owned 14 firearms and conducted the attack with six of them, including a Glock pistol, a Smith & Wesson pistol, a Taurus pistol and a Del-Ton AR-15 rifle. All were purchased legally.
Analysis: No proposed laws would have prevented these purchases.
July 16, 2015: Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed five people and wounded two at the Navy Operational Support Center and Marine Corps Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tenn. He used an AK-74-style rifle and 9mm handgun, and a shotgun was in his car. He had multiple 30-round magazines, news reports said. Officials said the gun was obtained legally but other weapons were obtained through Armslist.com, an online forum through which individuals can buy and sell firearms through private transactions.
Analysis: The Senate bill to extend background checks would have included online sales. But because Abdulazeez purchased his other weapons legally, thus passing a background check, a crackdown on online sales likely would not have made a difference in this case.
June 17, 2015: Dylann Roof killed nine people with a .45-caliber Glock pistol that held 13 rounds at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. Roof legally purchased his gun from a store but the FBI said he should have failed the background check because he had been charged with possessing Suboxone without a prescription. However, because of clerical mistakes, the FBI said the examiner did not get hold of the report before the three-day waiting period ended, and so the store went through with the purchase.
Analysis: This appears to be an example of an existing law that apparently failed, though some analysts believe Roof actually would have passed the background check if it had been done correctly. The FBI statement incorrectly referred to a felony drug charge, but it was actually a misdemeanor for possession; he did not admit to being an addict. There are also reports that his parents took the gun away from him at some point, but then he took it back.
This is certainly a depressing chronicle of death and tragedy. But Rubio’s statement stands up to scrutiny — at least for the recent past, as he framed it. Notably, three of the mass shootings took place in California, which already has strong gun laws including a ban on certain weapons and high-capacity magazines.
At Townhall, we have posted numerous times about how Obama’s buffet of anti-gun measures wouldn’t have prevented any further mass shootings. Even members of his own party admit it. In the end, it’s about redundant legislation that only infringes on our constitutional right to own firearms. It’s not about safety, or preventing deaths - it’s about the pernicious and corrupt expansion of federal power.
And the vast majority on this list don't even live here, so why is this even a serious policy proposal.