“But Laws on the Books Wouldn’t Have Stopped It!”

David Crane/Orange County Register via ZUMA

After any mass shooting, the inevitable conservative reply is “Nothing Dems are proposing would have stopped this particular mass shooting anyway.” David Harsanyi goes all in on this tactic:

California has already passed a “universal background check” law. California, in fact, already instituted a 10-day waiting period, a limit to handgun purchases, a microtracking system, a personal safety test, an “assault weapon” ban, an age hike on the purchase of shotguns and rifles from 18 to 21, “red flag” laws that allow police to confiscate guns without genuine due process, among many other restrictions. And none of those laws stopped the “slaughter” of children in Santa Clarita.

Right. See, the thing is that these are all fairly feeble restrictions, and they aren’t likely to have much effect. The obvious answer is to pass laws that might actually make a difference, but unfortunately conservatives unanimously oppose them all. That means they never pass, which means the “slaughter” of children continues.¹

You might also want to note that whenever there’s a mass shooting, then by definition the laws currently on the books didn’t stop it. Ditto for murder, robbery, rape, carjacking, and so forth. You can play this juvenile game forever. Pay no attention to it.

¹Why the scare quotes? Beats me, though it’s become something of a trending fad on Fox News these days. Somebody should ask Harsanyi about that.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.