The Corner

The one and only.

Firearms and the Cowardly Left


I have long argued that if the Left is serious in its stated desire to prevent shootings, it will put its money where its mouth is, dispense with futile and knee-jerk solutions, and adumbrate what it truly believes. It will stop pretending that background checks have anything to do with massacres. It will bother to learn something about firearms so that it doesn’t embarrass itself during every argument. It will stop focusing on rifles, which in 2011 were the tool used in 323 deaths — just half of the 728 deaths caused by “hands and fists” — and it will instead focus on handguns, which were used in 6,220. Banning handguns, remember, used to be the aim of the anti-gun movement — until this became politically untenable. 

Because D.C. vs. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago rendered incontrovertible what all but the most dishonest observers knew to be true — that, like all of the others in the Bill of Rights, the right to bear arms applies to individuals — this will mean that progressives have to campaign for the outright repeal of the Second Amendment. Still, anti-gun types are always urging politicians to show “courage” on this issue, so I can’t imagine that will be too much of a problem. Right?

My piece today looks at the link between private sales and mass shootings. It is, as you might imagine, pretty much non-existent. And yet, inexplicably, this is what campaigners have focused on since Sandy Hook — and continue to focus on to this day:

Gun-controllers have been more than happy to link background checks and massacres as if one were a failsafe way of limiting the other. During the tantrum that he threw after the Toomey-Manchin bill had been defeated, President Obama mentioned “Sandy Hook” four times, “Newtown” five times, and “children” eight times. He invited the parents of the victims to stand behind him. He brazenly connected his legislative efforts to “Tucson and Aurora and Chicago.” He riffed angrily on his childish “if it saves one life” theme, arguing that “if action by Congress could have saved one person, one child, a few hundred, a few thousand — if it could have prevented those people from losing their lives to gun violence in the future while preserving our Second Amendment rights, we had an obligation to try.”

To take even a cursory look at the data is to realize that hanging a background-check bill on a massacre isn’t just wrong, it’s deeply dishonest. It’s cowardly, too. My piece is here.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review