EDITORIAL: Five lessons I've learned since Newtown (VIDEO)

It seems like everyone who covers the gun debate is writing reflection pieces this week on the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Well, here are five things I’ve learned:

1. Gun laws are virtually ineffective at preventing mass shootings

There is no law or group of laws that will prevent scheming sociopaths from murdering innocents. Whether it’s with a gun, a truck filled with fertilizer, or a pressure cooker bomb, bad people will find a way to do bad things.

Though, don’t take my word for it, consider what Criminologist James Alan Fox had to say on the subject.

“Most mass killers kill people they know, with a clear-cut motive. They typically plan their crimes in advance, often weeks or months in advance. They are calm, deliberate and determined to get justice for what they perceive to be unfair treatment,” Fox told The Daily Beast back in April.

In a Boston.com article, Fox lamented the futility of gun laws to prevent spree killers from carrying out unthinkable crimes.

“Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally,” wrote Fox.

“People simply cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner,” he continued. “Besides, would-be mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.”

2. Not every family affected by the Newtown tragedy supports gun control

If you follow most of the coverage on the shooting, it would appear as if all of the Newtown families affected by the tragedy support tougher gun laws, the reality is that it’s not true.

Rachel D’Avino, a staff member at Sandy Hook elementary school, was killed during the tragic events on Dec. 14, 2012.

Rachel D’Avino, a staff member at Sandy Hook elementary school, was killed during the tragic events on Dec. 14, 2012.

The family of Rachel D’Avino, a behavioral therapist who was killed in the shooting, spoke to CT Post in September about the incident and the way in which it’s been exploited to push for tougher gun control laws.

“We’re very frustrated mainly because the 26 families got lumped together. We’re 26 families made of individuals that all have different opinions,” Hannah D’Avino, Rachel’s sister, told the CT Post. “It’s like people are speaking for me and speaking for my sister. They don’t know her and they don’t know us.”

The girls’ stepfather, Peter Paradis, introduced Rachel and Hannah to guns growing up. He taught all his children, three stepdaughters and two older sons, how to safely and responsibly use a firearm. Both Rachel and Hannah developed an affinity for firearms and shooting.

During the interview, Paradis discussed who he felt was responsible for the shooting.

“Our big thing, it’s not the gun that killed the kids. It’s the mental illness that killed the kids and his mother,” explained Paradis.

“It’s a lot easier to take and ram through gun control because it doesn’t cost anything to ban it. To put a program in for the mentally ill, that’s going to cost money so you can’t go that way.”

3. Mass shootings are not on the rise

Nope. I’ll say that again, mass shootings are not on the rise.

Again, take it from Fox, who is by no means a pro-gun advocate. He is a professor at Boston’s Northeastern University and who’s authored several books on the subject, “The Will To Kill: Explaining Senseless Murder” and ”Violence and Security on Campus: From Preschool through College.”

“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” Fox told The Associated Press.

4. Bloomberg is a man on a mission

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is a man on a mission. Yeah, I knew this before Sandy Hook, but I wasn’t really sure how determined he was to change the Second Amendment as we know it today.

Now, post Newtown, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s hell-bent on gutting our right to keep and bear arms. The proof is in the pudding.

Bloomberg dropped nearly $12 million of his own money to foist his gun control agenda on America in 2013. Not to mention the $1.1 million he spent to ensure that pro-gun control Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was elected governor of Virginia.

On Thursday, Bloomberg reminded the public that he’s here to stay.

“Rest assured I’m going to devote extensive resources of my own and work very hard,” Bloomberg said at a MAIG press conference.

“We will keep fighting. Maybe we’ll keep fighting even harder because we have more time to work on this,” he added. “This organization is not going away.”

5. Confiscatory gun laws are for real

First it was the New York SAFE Act, the sweeping gun-control legislation Gov. Andrew Cuomo rammed through the state legislature in the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook, which places a retro-active ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

SAFE Act magazine restriction

SAFE Act magazine restriction

In other words, lawfully owned 10-plus round magazines will have to be destroyed, sold out of state, or forfeited to the police.

In October, we learned that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a similar confiscatory ban on magazines.

Voluntary surrender notice or confiscation warning? (Photo credit: The Truth About Guns)

Voluntary surrender notice or confiscation warning? (Photo credit: The Truth About Guns)

Like with the SAFE Act, those who are in possession of the ‘high-capacity magazines’ or ‘high-capacity ammunition’ feeding devices will have 90 days to turn them over to police, sell them out of state or render them permanently inoperable. Failure to do so will result in misdemeanor charges.

“While not a panacea, this legislation provides law enforcement with more tools to continue to address gun violence and also continues to strengthen our city’s strong stance on gun regulation,” the bill’s sponsor, Supervisor Malia Cohen, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Recently, we also learned about New York City’s ‘Surrender Your Guns’ letters, which were being mailed to gun owners. The letters requested that illegal rifles, shotguns and magazines either be surrendered, otherwise removed from the city or modified to hold no more than five rounds of ammunition

According to the code, cited in the letters, “No person may possess an ammunition feeding device which is designed for use in a rifle or shotgun and which is capable of holding more than five rounds of rifle or shotgun ammunition…”

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