With mass shootings dominating the news, it feels like the United States has turned into a war zone. Now, Congress must act to protect the American citizenry.
The publicity that comes with these mass shootings drives a predictable response from politicians, celebrities, and even sports teams — a cry for so-called common sense gun laws. President Biden has called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, universal background checks, and an end to immunity for gun manufacturers. Kim Kardashian and even the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks have also called for more stringent gun laws.
Most of these pleas are uninformed and would do nothing to stop new mass shootings. There are two solutions Congress can address immediately to help stem the tide — eliminate ‘gun-free’ zones and expand concealed carry laws. Liberals don’t want to hear that, but these two moves could go a long way in keeping would-be shooters guessing who’s armed who’s not.
The data do not support the argument for more and more gun control. Only 12% of mass killings are “mass public shootings. Most mass killings are ‘familicides’ (murders of family members or intimate partners) and felony-related killings (robberies or gang-related ‘turf battles’).” In the U.S., mass public shootings account for less than 0.5% of all gun deaths every year.
But the Democrats insist the answer is a ban on assault weapons and more criminal background checks.
First, let us look at the call to ban “AR-style” assault weapons to reduce mass shootings. According to research provided by the FBI to Pew Research, assault weapons are not the weapon of choice when it comes to gun related crime. In 2020, handguns were involved in 59% of gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters. “Rifles – the category that includes assault weapons – were involved in 3% of firearm murders.” This means that approximately 408 people were killed by “assault weapons” in 2020. For comparison, more than 500 people are killed by hippopotamuses each year and more people die falling out of bed or from volcanic explosions each year than are killed by assault weapons.
Second, criminals, by definition, do not abide by the law — that’s what makes them criminals. Federal law requires a criminal background check for all firearm sales and transfers by licensed dealers. The challenge is that most criminals do not legally obtain their guns. A 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates reported that approximately 1 in 5 (21%) of all state and federal prisoners reported possessing or using a firearm when they committed the offense for which they were serving time. Of those prisoners, only 7% purchased the weapon under their own name from a licensed dealer. More than half of prisoners (56%) had stolen the weapon, found it at the scene of a crime, or obtained it off the street or from the underground market.
Nevertheless, Congress can and should immediately enact two common sense gun laws that can help reduce the number of mass shootings.
First, we must outlaw gun-free zones — areas where legal gun owners are prohibited from carrying a gun. Gun-free zones often include schools, stores, movie theaters, and bars/nightclubs. Criminals are emboldened to attack people in gun-free zones for they know they can kill with impunity until law enforcement arrives. Both the outlet mall in Texas and the Christian school in Nashville were gun-free zones. From 1988 through August 2019, more than “85 percent of Mass Public Shootings have occurred in gun-free zones.” Allowing a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun is simply smart legislation that will save lives.
Second, we must allow for universal recognition of concealed carry licenses. If a person is qualified to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois, she is certainly qualified to carry the same concealed weapon in Rhode Island or New York. We do not require a person to have a driver’s license for each state in which he or she drives. Why do we require someone who has passed all the background checks and completed all the requisite training to seek multiple licenses to carry a concealed weapon.
These common sense gun laws will save lives. If the government is going to take action to reduce gun violence, let them take action that will have a positive impact on the nation.
Jim Nelles is a Navy veteran and supply chain consultant based in Chicago. His articles have appeared in The Washington Examiner, Newsweek, Foxnews.com, and The Daily Wire. He has served as a chief procurement officer, chief supply chain officer, and chief operations officer for multiple companies.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.