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Would Gun Control Have Stopped the Batman Shooting?

In predictable fashion, Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker has placed the moral blame for the shooting on anyone who supports the Second Amendment:

Those who fight for the right of every madman and every criminal to have as many people-killing weapons as they want share moral responsibility for what happened last night—as they will when it happens again. And it will happen again. …

In America, it has been, for so long now, the belief that guns designed to kill people indifferently and in great numbers can be widely available and not have it end with people being killed, indifferently and in great numbers. The argument has gotten dully repetitive: How does one argue with someone convinced that the routine massacre of our children is the price we must pay for our freedom to have guns, or rather to have guns that make us feel free? You can only shake your head and maybe cry a little. “Gun Crazy” is the title of one the best films about the American romance with violence. And gun-crazy we remain. …

Why would anyone think that a law against possessing deadly firearms would have prevented the shooter from possessing deadly firearms? Since James Holmes’ intention was to kill dozens of people–which is against the law–it hardly stands to reason that he would have been deterred by laws against gun ownership.

Sanity check: Violent crime rates have continued to fall over the last decade, even as gun laws have become less restrictive, and Americans have come to own more guns than ever before. According to Reason’s Brian Doherty:

Despite constantly expanding gun ownership—the number of new firearms entering American possession averages around 4 million a year—and expanded rights to legally carry weapons, the last two decades have seen a 41 percent decline in violent crime rates. Since the 2004 expiration of the “assault weapon” ban, murder rates are down 15 percent.

Expect much more of the media using this shooting to make an error-ridden case for gun control. Already ABC’s Brian Ross was forced to apologize for falsely claiming that the shooter was a member of a local Tea Party group (in fact, he got the wrong James Holmes).

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