In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Dale Hansen, political blogger for Detroit News, declares that “Conservatives are Delusional About Facts on Guns.” This is in response to Vince Vaughn’s comments on the subject and to statements made by Greg Gutfeld and others on Fox’s program, The Five.
Now Huffington Post is not exactly neutral on the subject of guns and gun rights. One regular commentator, Mike Weisser, is called “the Gun Guy,” perhaps because he sells guns, though his articles are always in favor of more restrictions, more bans, and more burdens on good people who want to own and carry guns. His opinion pieces dovetail in with articles purporting to be news about incidents involving guns that themselves cross over into editorializing. So it comes as no surprise that yet another call to curtail our rights would appear in that publication. It’s also not surprising, though it certainly is disappointing, that Hansen buys into the idea that supporting gun rights is somehow something only conservatives do. As I addressed elsewhere, gun ownership and gun rights aren’t exclusively the interest of people in the right wing.
But let’s look at the heart of what Hansen claims are facts. Vaughn is quoted as saying, “All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one, or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones.” Gun shootings may have been a slip of the tongue, as it appears to refer to mass shootings, and that’s how Hansen reads it. The two examples he uses to counter this remark are the incidents at Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard.
Read that again: Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard. Those are both precisely what is referred to as “gun-free zones.” The only persons allowed to carry on base are “law enforcement or security personnel.” The Navy Yard shooting took place in a building that requires an access card to enter. This building is located on a military base in Washington, D.C.—in other words, a gun-free zone inside a gun-free zone inside a gun-free zone.
Hansen is correct to say that shooting incidents in public often involve someone taking out a grievance on family or fellow employees, but even in that, he skips over the mass shootings that grab the most attention—namely, ones where the perpetrator attacks random strangers in schools or other areas where law-abiding citizens are likely to be unarmed. And that’s a key point. Do spree killers seek out locations where good people will not have guns? Some do; some don’t. What matters isn’t their motivations, since sorting through the delusions of narcissists looking to get their names in the news is often a fool’s errand. What matters is the fact that potential victims in gun-free zones are denied effective tools for self-defense, leaving them having to fall back on the advice given by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security to “run, hide, and fight.” That “fight” part has to be done with staplers and coffee mugs, of course, since having a gun is ruled out by the sign at the entrance—the sign the mass shooter—disgruntled husband or otherwise—will ignore.
Then Hansen goes after a comment made by Gutfeld about New York City’s “stop and frisk” policy. Gutfeld praises this program for having reduced gun crime, and Hansen argues that this is exactly what gun control advocates have been saying all along—getting guns off the street will reduce violence. Of course, there’s no mention of how “stop and frisk,” on the face of it, is a violation of other rights protected by the Constitution, but all too often, both sides, left and right, fail to stand up for every right. Nevertheless, Hansen misses yet another point here. Someone who is carrying a gun in the City of New York without all the necessary permission slips is committing a crime. The law regarding that is unconstitutional, in my view, but it is the law. Again, we have here a gun control advocate who is confusing the issue by conflating the guns owned by law-abiding people with those in the possession of criminals.
The article also wanders through a laundry list of gun control’s favorite claims, including the assertion that nations with strict gun laws experience less homicide. Note how he strays from the talking point there in several ways. The usual claim is to say that the U.S. far and away leads “industrialized” or “developed” nations in homicides and certainly in gun homicides, though “industrialized” apparently doesn’t include Russia, “developed” doesn’t mean Mexico, and the only kind of murder that matters is one that’s committed with a firearm. Those two countries are but a couple of examples of many where the gun laws demanded by people like Hansen are already in place and the homicide rate is much higher than ours.
But what does he propose for us? We get the choice of a ban on the manufacture and sale of bullets, since he thinks those aren’t included in “arms,” or a tax increase on guns and ammunition to make both “unaffordable for many of the mentally unstable individuals that commit these mass murders.”
Sometimes, gun control advocates succeed in surprising me with how little they know about the subject. I do hope Hansen got permission from Chris Rock to use the bullet control notion. Perhaps he wishes to catch the next Al Capone on tax charges, rather than on the crime of evading some new prohibition law. Or his call for more control may simply come out of desperation. After all, the Aurora shooter passed his background check, as did the Tucson shooter and the Navy Yard shooter. The latter had clearance to enter a secure facility on a military base. Hansen’s call to make guns too expensive for the “mentally unstable” sounds to me like a wish that only the wealthy and politically connected will be able to defend themselves, since mass shooters of recent memory haven’t been exclusively poor. The Isla Vista shooter, for example, was the son of a Hollywood filmmaker.
If the people who claim to be interested in our safety want a new idea—new in the sense that they’ve never given it any real consideration before—here it is. The real answer isn’t even mentioned in “Conservatives are Delusional About Facts on Guns.” Rather than chasing after some dream of disarmament that has proved ineffective and probably impossible in America, let good people have the tools to defend themselves. Spree shooters are cowards. They fold when they face opposition. I’ve asked gun control advocates if they would want to be armed in a situation in which a mass shooter invades their place of work or entertainment. They dodge that point. They have to. It’s a natural instinct and a natural right for each of us to defend our lives from a violent criminal attack. The only question here is why some in this country want to keep us from having the effective means to do so.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.