There are now calls from the Left for gun control legislation in response to Adam Lanza's unconscionable mass killing of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary. However, very few people seem to be asking the most basic question of all before getting started: What gun control legislation could have stopped Adam Lanza?
The answer is "none."
Let's consider a few alternatives:
1) The school was already a "gun free zone;" so obviously that wasn't effective. Of course, the sort of people who would respect a "gun free zone" in the first place are the very ones you wouldn't have to worry about carrying a gun; so it's an almost useless designation.
2) What about closing the supposed "gun show loophole?" Well, since Lanza killed his own mother and used her legally acquired guns for his rampage, making it harder for googly-eyed loners to acquire weapons wouldn't have changed a thing.
3) Some people are calling for a ban on automatic weapons. Setting aside the fact that the regulation of fully automatic weapons is already tighter than Spandex, Adam Lanza didn't use a fully automatic weapon.
4) Then there are calls for the "Assault Weapons Ban" to be reinstated. One problem: the semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle that Lanza used wasn't covered by the bill. So, his mother could have bought that exact same gun with a sheriff looking over her shoulder while the ban was in place.
5) We could, of course, pass a newly updated "Assault Weapons Ban" that covers the semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle. Then, gun manufacturers would try to create weapons that can get around the ban. They would probably be successful. Even if they weren't, it's not as if Lanza was battling Marines. When you're a coward who's attacking unarmed children, any gun will work.
6) We could also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, but given the 3-5 second reload time, that would have been a minor inconvenience to Adam Lanza at worst. After all, it's not as if a group of small children were going to be able to scamper away or gang up on him during a four second window.
So, what now? Well, let's step into the realm of fantasy and assume that there's no such thing as a 2nd Amendment that provides the public with a Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms." that is every bit as important as the right to free speech and freedom of religion. Let's also pretend that the American public would go along with the following laws and attempts to implement them wouldn't lead to wide scale violence and unrest.
7) Congress could ban the manufacture and sale of bullets and magazines. Given the massive number of bullets and magazines already owned by the public and readily available instructions for making them, this wouldn't stop any determined killer like Adam Lanza. On the other hand, it would lead to a massive black market with tens of millions of previously law abiding Americans buying bullets by the bucketful from back rooms across the country.
8) Congress could also ban the manufacture and sale of guns. Again, that would lead to the creation of a massive black market, but it would also leave roughly 300 million guns in the hands of the American people. In other words, if Adam Lanza had decided to wait until AFTER that law was passed to go on his killing spree, it would have been the same sad story.
9) Then, there's the most extreme step of all: Congress could ban the ownership of guns. One problem: In the vast majority of cases, the government has no record of who owns guns and who doesn't. In most places, those records are kept at the gun store level and are not updated. If the gun is lost, stolen, given away or sold by the individual, there is no record of it. This is a feature, not a bug, and it's designed to prevent exactly the sort of confiscation we're discussing here. So, even if all guns were made illegal, it would be very difficult to enforce, most people wouldn't turn their weapons in and there would probably be two hundred million guns left in the hands of the American public. Would a man like Adam Lanza still be able to acquire a weapon in that situation? Come on, he KILLED HIS OWN MOTHER for a gun; so you can be sure he'd have gotten one elsewhere.
10) Let's go Steven Spielberg on this problem and assume space aliens show up and use some bizarre technology to get rid of all guns. Well, even so, fire and explosives would still exist and as Brian Palmer has noted in Slate, those can be even more effective killers than guns.
Guns aren't even the most lethal mass murder weapon. According to data compiled by Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, guns killed an average of 4.92 victims per mass murder in the United States during the 20th century, just edging out knives, blunt objects, and bare hands, which killed 4.52 people per incident. Fire killed 6.82 people per mass murder, while explosives far outpaced the other options at 20.82. Of the 25 deadliest mass murders in the 20th century, only 52 percent involved guns.
If gun control advocates like Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg and Michael Moore, all of whom have armed guards protecting their safety, succeed in making guns less available for law abiding citizens, it wouldn't stop another Newtown massacre, but ironically it would make it easier for rapists, gangs or even the next Adam Lanza to hurt innocent people.