This one must have been hard for them to write but Sharon LaFraniere and Emily Palmer did it anyway. The Times examined (pretty extensively) 130 shooting from 2015, all of which involved four or more victims. They found:
Still, an examination of high-casualty shootings emphasizes not only how porous existing firearms regulations are, but also how difficult tightening them in a meaningful way may be.
The New York Times examined all 130 shootings last year in which four or more people were shot, at least one fatally, and investigators identified at least one attacker. The cases range from drug-related shootouts to domestic killings that wiped out entire families to chance encounters that took harrowing wrong turns.
They afford a panoramic view of some of the gun control debate’s fundamental issues: whether background checks and curbs on assault weapons limit violence; whether the proliferation of open-carry practices and rules allowing guns on college campuses is a spark to violence; whether it is too easy for dangerously mentally ill or violent people to get guns.
The findings are dispiriting to anyone hoping for simple legislative fixes to gun violence. In more than half the 130 cases, at least one assailant was already barred by federal law from having a weapon, usually because of a felony conviction, but nonetheless acquired a gun. Including those who lacked the required state or local permits, 64 percent of the shootings involved at least one attacker who violated an existing gun law.
Of the remaining assailants, 40 percent had never had a serious run-in with the law and probably could have bought a gun even in states with the strictest firearm controls. Typically those were men who killed their families and then themselves.
Only 14 shootings involved assault rifles, illustrating their outsize role in the gun debate. Nearly every other assailant used a handgun. That is in line with a federal study that concluded that reviving a 1994 ban on assault weapons and ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds would have a minimal impact, at best, on gun violence.
No, you can’t legislate morality. Every murder and violent crime in 2015 occurred in a jurisdiction that explicitly bans murder and violent crime. That people prone to violate these long-standing, somewhat universal laws also violate existing gun control laws is not unexpected. They would violate any such laws. And, even if the Second Amendment was undone and all guns were magically spirited away, these criminals would find other weapons. ISIS has made a study of that alternative choosing.
The writers ended the piece with the worn “wild west” analogy for increased armed vigilance against crime; they quoted the father of a victim: “he shudders to think what would have happened had other [would be victims] been armed that night. ‘Are you kidding me?’ he said. ‘It would have been like the O.K. Corral.'”
That man was understandably distressed. But his logic doesn’t hold. Herein lies the weakness in this otherwise good Times story. It’s the same weakness that plagues all liberal attempts to either ban what is already banned or to make sense of any shooting scenario. They simply cannot see any other parts of the equation except for victims and criminals. They completely overlook armed non-victims who fight back with success.
And then there’s protection against institutional criminality. Divine Freedom Radio.
Some of the same people who push gun control to keep us safe from guns push(ed) air bags to keep us safe from auto accidents. Both positions are somewhat comprehensible even if they disallow free choices. Air bags kill a certain number of people every year. However, they save many more lives than they take. It is the exact same thing with guns. Twenty thousand or so deaths are attributable to guns each year via homicides, suicides and accidents. Yet guns save a million or more lives every year.
I haven’t run the numbers but it strikes me that the guns / airbags death ratios may be very close percentage wise. Yet the while the liberals promoted and mandated the bags they fight against the guns. Something in the logic fails to make sense. Hoplophobia explains perhaps.
Societies have attempted to legislate murder away for as long as societies have existed. The fact that most people do not commit murder speaks less to the laws than to the fact that most people are not murders. Still, as they say, complete morality cannot be legislated. Thus, the rest of us, who are morally responsible, must take precautions against those who are not. Today, in America, precaution looks a lot like a gun.