In the wake of the horrible, unbelievably sad and insane shooting massacre of 59 people in Las Vegas, on top of more than 500 wounded, it’s time to blame human evil on guns again. The misled, uninformed and, in some cases, ideologically twisted, don’t get it that the evidence of gun laws doing any good is leaky at best and that it’s antics like theirs that boost sales. A calm, cool reluctance, meanwhile, reduces them.
Here’s a demonstration of that proposition — the record-setting purchases of guns during the Obama administration and the drop during President Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office. If you want studies and numbers, you will get them, starting with a study by the New York Times, hardly a fan of gun possession.
It concluded that “fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone.” The analysis, a story said, was based on federal data showing how President Barack Obama’s varied calls for stifling sales were springboards for encouraging them.
“President Obama was the best gun salesman the world has ever seen,” a gun shop owner is quoted as saying in another news outlet, the Daily Mail. A story noted that a rising 10-year market up to 2015 had led to three times as many gun manufacturers as there had been. Still another media source has cited a gun and ammunition trade association as being oh, so thankful to Obama for increasing gun jobs from 166,000 to 288,000 from 2008 to 2015 and income from $19.1 billion to $49.3 billion.
A great fear, of course, has been a confiscatory ban on at least some guns, and, given how both Obama and erstwhile presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have praised Australia’s gun laws, that’s more than a conspiracy theory. In Australia, the government banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and then gave people a year to sell any they already had to the government before they became criminals for owning them.
Clinton, in her 2016 campaign, helped instigate further gun purchases through such tactics as wanting to overturn a Supreme Court decision that she thought scuttled a Washington, D.C., law that people should lock up handguns that could lead to toddler deaths. The D.C. law actually banned ownership of all handguns. Right now she wants to ban silencers because they could lead to more mass shootings when they only silence enough to save the ears of shooters.
Trump is a Second Amendment champ, and, the day after he won the election, gun sales started a downward trot. This past July, even with price discounts all over the place, federal gun checks were reportedly down 25 percent from what they had been in 2016. As CNN has said, gun stores are wondering what in the world to do with their inventory, but there are fiercely angry politicians, pundits and others running to the rescue with their cries for sweeping gun measures that Republicans have thwarted.
One of the most vitriolic of these critics was a CBS legal executive quickly fired after speaking out on Facebook. She said she was not sympathetic with the victims of one of the worst mass shootings in history because those at this country music festival in Las Vegas were likely Republican “gun toters” who prevent good laws. What we know is that a great many were heroes helping to save lives, and what she did not understand is the conclusion of a 2013 federal study that gun ownership makes citizens safer and that it’s uncertain whether gun laws reduce violence.
A small enough law that might make sense would ban a device that enabled the killer to make a semiautomatic rifle shoot as rapidly as an automatic that is already practically illegal. But the unifying speech Trump made after the attack did far more for the American good than divisive cries for futile measures, and his stance against more gun control has done more to control guns.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.