Different Takes: Time To Admit There’s A Big Limit To What Can Be Done About Mass Shootings; Mental Illness Gets The Blame Once Again
Editorial pages weigh in on a range of public health topics stemming from gun violence.
The Wall Street Journal:
Guns And The Do-Something Fallacy
“Do something!” someone shouted at Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. The shout came during a candlelight vigil in downtown Dayton, where a disturbed young man just hours before had shot to death nine innocent people, including his own sister. Others in the crowd quickly chimed in, until “what started as just a smattering of voices had morphed into a deafening chant,” according to the Washington Post. The deafening chant has now moved to Washington, where Congress is feeling pushed to “do something” about mass shootings. In the standard Beltway narrative, were it not for the Second Amendment “absolutists” in thrall to the National Rifle Association, Democrats and Republicans would happily come together on common-sense measures to halt the bloodshed. Even President Trump is now saying, “I think we could get something really good done”—meaning expanded background checks, which the NRA opposes.This ought to be Mr. Trump’s moment. (William McGurn, 8/12)
Mass Shootings And The Mental Health Lie
Depending on your definition of “mass shooting,” there have been between 250 and 300 mass shootings in the United States in 2019. We know some of their names: El Paso, Gilroy, Dayton, Virginia Beach. Others pass in relative silence, part of the susurrus of gunfire, sirens, and funeral bells of the American soundscape. They disappear, and government moves on to its next failure. And once again the National Rifle Association and the politicians it supports are trying to drive the narrative that mental health is the root cause of these shootings. (Ben Jackson, 8/13)
The Majority Of Gun Sales Are Between Private Sellers And Buyers
About 80 percent of all firearms acquired for criminal purposes are obtained through private-party transfers, none of which go through a background check. Apart from acquiring a firearm from a retailer, a person may obtain a gun through a private sale, a transfer, a gift, or through unlawful ways, such as by theft, smuggling, using a straw buyer to purchase a firearm from a retailer, or other black-market transactions — none of which, under law, are preceded by a background check. (Roberto Martinez and Gabriela Martinez, 8/12)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Missouri Law Allows Mass-Shooting Scenarios, Right Up Until The Bullets Fly.
Now, Walmart shoppers — and people in other public spaces wherever such laws are in effect — have to wonder which of those legally carrying gunmen will suddenly decide to illegally use what he’s carrying. This is the world our permissive gun culture built. We’re all prisoners in it, and will continue to be until sanity returns to the state legislatures where such laws exist. (8/12)