Yesterday was horrific. Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, ventured onto campus with an AR-15 rifle and smoke grenades, pulled the fire alarm, and began to open fire on students and faculty. He killed 17 people and wounded at least a dozen more. It didn’t take long for the anti-gun crowd to start spewing their drivel across various mediums. We have the usual Cobb salad of crap: we’ve had 18 school shootings this year, we should ban semi-automatics, which is an unconstitutional gun ban, you can conceal carry a rifle (no, I’m not kidding), and Trump made it easier for the mentally I’ll to buy firearms. All of this is either flat out wrong or grossly inaccurate.
We all knew that we would have to restack the sand bags. We always do after these tragic events, but we also always win these arguments. Liberal anti-gun positions don’t get better with time; it’s not like aging a fine wine. It’s still the same putrid red progressive meat that everyone else refuses to digest. So, let’s go through the motions of eviscerating these talking points again.
Let’s go with a liberal favorite: Trump rescinded an Obama-era mental health regulation on firearms. This has been brought up before. Last November, former Air Force veteran Devin Patrick Kelley killed 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He should have been barred from owning firearms since he served a year in jail for domestic abuse, but the Air Force didn’t forward his criminal record to the FBI to update the National Instant Background Check Database. First, the regulation never went into effect. Second, various disability advocacy groups and the American Civil Liberties Union opposed it (via Stephen Gutowski) [emphasis mine]:
The regulation in question was adopted in December 2016 and went into effect on January 18, 2017, after the election of President Trump but before his inauguration two days later. Compliance with the rule was scheduled to begin on December 19, 2017. Before compliance ever began, however, the rule was repealed by a law passed through the House of Representatives and Senate, then signed by President Trump in February 2017. The regulation never had any effect.
The regulation would have required the Social Security Administration to report recipients who have their benefits managed by a representative payee and who meet other criteria to the FBI's background check system, effectively barring them from legally owning firearms. It would have applied to recipients between the ages 18 and 65 who Social Security assigned a representative payee to after determining they were unable to manage their own finances due to a mental impairment. The Social Security Administration would then notify those affected over the phone and in writing. Those affected would have been able to challenge their designation but only after their records have been submitted to the FBI.
Groups from across the political spectrum fought against the regulation's implementation and urged its repeal. Gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association said the rule was a "gun grab" and criticized it for lacking a determination that those affected are a threat to themselves or others.
The National Council on Disability, Consortium for Citizens With Disabilities, and National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery all submitted letters calling for the reversal of the rule during hearings conducted by the Ways and Means Committee.
"There is, simply put, no nexus between the inability to manage money and the ability to safely and responsibly own, possess or use a firearm," the National Council on Disability said, echoing what the other groups have said. "This arbitrary linkage not only unnecessarily and unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right, it increases the stigma for those who, due to their disabilities, may need a representative payee."
Yes, Trump erased an Obama-era rule on mental health and guns.— Lois Beckett (@loisbeckett) February 15, 2018
Experts said it was “fundamentally not a rational policy," that it was “unfair” & “stigmatizing.”
The ACLU, disability advocates, and mental health groups all supported Trump's rollback: https://t.co/r02pzKHbra
This is not true. They are prohibited from using CDC funds to advocate for gun control. https://t.co/UgLkjAEUOW— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) February 15, 2018
Hi Ezra, I noticed you left out the ACLU opposing the Obama rule out of your explainer. Why? https://t.co/RE7oo3f1Ww— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) February 15, 2018
Reminder: this is a lie. https://t.co/PPISP1e89E— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 15, 2018
This is a lie. https://t.co/9BwYAQDl8r— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 15, 2018
So, when you see stuff like “Trump signed a law making it easier for the mentally ill to buy guns,” it’s a lie.
• In Florida, you don't need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun, although you do need it to conceal carry a handgun— CNN (@CNN) February 15, 2018
• You can buy as many guns as you want at one time, because Florida doesn't regulate that eitherhttps://t.co/EGpPSeO0g5
Evergreen question... but how does one conceal carry a rifle https://t.co/vQmgvOX8Tk— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) February 15, 2018
Dear CNN intern: go out and purchase a rifle, attempt to conceal it on your person, and then tell me why this tweet was ill-advised https://t.co/n2YOvmQPHb— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) February 15, 2018
The second round of stupid occurred when CNN tweeted that in Florida, “you don’t need a permit to conceal carry a rifle or shotgun, although you do need it to conceal carry a handgun.” It’s really not worth delving too much into this. If you think you can conceal carry a rifle, you need to stop reporting on firearms. Briefly though, the author seemed surprised that you don’t need to register your firearms in Florida, and that you can buy as many as you want. Yeah, only deep blue states require registration of firearms, with a few outliers; Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are all constitutional carry states. That’s right in these states, including Vermont, the land of Bernie Sanders, they don’t require any of its residents to have a permit to concealed carry their firearms. They all also don’t require registration of firearms with the state. In Vermont, at least 70 percent of the population owns a firearm.
Bonus CNN tweet:
Keep in mind the same media telling you how you should feel about guns don’t even know how they work.— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) February 15, 2018
Here’s CNN talking about a bump stock… the only problem is that they’re missing… the bump stock. pic.twitter.com/qxikrcpSYr
The last narrative that’s being peddled is the ‘we’ve had 18 school shootings so far this year.’ This is total bunk. It’s trash. Even The Washington Post said this statistic is “flat wrong” (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:
The stunning number swept across the internet within minutes of the news Wednesday that, yet again, another young man with another semi-automatic rifle had rampaged through a school, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in South Florida.
The figure originated with Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit, co-founded by Michael Bloomberg, that works to prevent gun violence and is most famous for its running tally of school shootings.
It is a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong.
Everytown has long inflated its total by including incidents of gunfire that are not really school shootings. Take, for example, what it counts as the year’s first: On the afternoon of Jan. 3, a 31-year-old man who had parked outside a Michigan elementary school called police to say he was armed and suicidal. Several hours later, he killed himself. The school, however, had been closed for seven months. There were no teachers. There were no students.
Also listed on the organization’s site is an incident from Jan. 20, when — at 1 a.m. — a man was shot at a sorority event on the campus of Wake Forest University. A week later, as a basketball game was being played at a Michigan high school, someone fired several rounds from a gun in the parking lot. No one was injured, and it was past 8 p.m., well after classes had ended for the day, but Everytown still labeled it a school shooting.
Just five of Everytown’s 18 school shootings listed for 2018 happened during school hours and resulted in any physical injury. Another three appeared to be intentional shootings but didn’t hurt anyone. Two more involved guns — one carried by a school police officer and the other by a licensed peace officer who ran a college club — that were unintentionally fired and, again, led to no injuries. At least seven of Everytown’s 18 shootings took place outside normal school hours.
…since Everytown began its tracking, it has included dubious examples: In August 2013, a man shot on a Tennessee high school’s property at 2 a.m.; in December 2014, a man shot in his car late one night and discovered the next day in a Pennsylvania elementary school parking lot; in August 2015, a man who climbed atop the roof of an empty Texas school on a Sunday morning and fired sporadically; in January 2016, a man in an Indiana high school parking lot whose gun accidentally went off in his glove box, before any students had arrived on campus; in December 2017, two teens in Washington state who shot up a high school just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, when the building was otherwise empty.
In 2015, The Post’s fact checkers awarded the group’s figures — invoked by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — four Pinocchios for misleading methodology.
Another incident that Everytown included was a broken bus window caused by a BB gun. No injures were reported.
There is always a knee-jerk reaction to these incidents. Policymaking is cold-hearted. It’s facts and numbers. Yes, personal stories help sell certain initiatives, but it doesn’t negate the fact that most Democratic gun control policies won’t stop future mass shootings, won’t curb gun violence, and only infringe on the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans.
It's quite disheartening to think that nothing could be done, but that's just the facts. None of the recent mass shootings would have been stopped by more gun laws--even The Post gave that claim a Geppetto mark. Banning those on terror or no fly lists, which are secret government lists with zero due process mechanisms, won’t stop mass shootings. Most of the people on these lists are not Americans, so they can’t buy firearms anyway. Expanding background checks won’t stop mass shootings. The cumulative effect argument is still terrible because one bill won’t be made more effective by several other pieces of shoddy anti-gun legislation attached to it. Mass shootings are terrible. They’re also rare. And they still are. As we’ve said before, citing FiveThirtyEight, viewing this issue solely through this lens of mass shootings is a sure fire way to create some really bad policy on guns. Also, it appears that Cruz was reported to the FBI by a YouTube vlogger months ago, but the bureau couldn’t identify the user. It appears as if Cruz used his own name for his account, however.
He used his own name as his YouTube handle. https://t.co/uovFXd4Itq— jon gabriel (@exjon) February 15, 2018
So it's another one where the authorities knew about the guy, but concluded there was nothing to be done. Added to Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Pulse, and Sutherland Springs.— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) February 15, 2018
If there is one article that offers some good points to consider regarding tackling gun violence in America, read The Guardian’s Lois Beckett. The only question is whether the anti-gun Left wants to drop their confiscatory ethos to actually have a conversation on this. Yet, with the anti-gunners spreading shoddy information on shootings and the Second Amendment, I'm afraid we probably won't get there.
Editor's Note: It's Devin, not David, Patrick Kelley. Sorry about that, folks.