The tragic loss of life, caused by terrorists in the San Bernardino attack, is being exploited by anti-gun politicians to push their misguided gun control agenda. Gun control laws are ineffective at stopping terrorists from obtaining firearms, and instead serve only to ensure that the victims of terrorism (and other crimes) are left defenseless.
The facts of the San Bernardino shooting, as documented by Wikipedia
Rather than recite the facts myself, I am going to make use of the Wikipedia article. I have highlighted particularly noteworthy sections of the Wikipedia test.
On December 2, 2015, fourteen people were killed and 21 injured in an Islamic extremism-inspired terrorist attack, consisting of a mass shooting (and attempted bombing) at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, United States. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married couple living in the city of Redlands, targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party of about 80 employees in a rented banquet room. Farook was an American-born U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, while his wife was a Pakistani-born legal resident of the U.S. He attended the training event as an employee before the shooting.
The attackers used two .223-caliber semi-automatic rifles, two 9 mm caliber semi-automatic pistols, and an explosive device in the attack. The rifles used were variants of the AR-15: one was a DPMS Panther Arms A15, the other was a Smith & Wesson M&P15.
All four of the guns were initially purchased legally from federally licensed firearms dealers in California in 2011 and 2012. The two handguns were purchased by Farook from a dealer in Corona. One of the handguns was manufactured by Llama and the other is a Springfield XD.
The two rifles were purchased by Enrique Marquez, a childhood friend of Farook’s who married a Russian woman who is a member of Farook’s extended family. Marquez’s home was searched by federal authorities following the attack. Under California law, all firearms must be transferred through a California licensed firearms dealer; Marquez’s role in the transfer of the guns to Farook and Malik was looked into by investigators, and criminal charges may be brought against him.
The rifles in question were legally purchased in California under California’s state ban on assault weapons. After the couple acquired the rifles, they subsequently altered them: there was a failed attempt to modify the Smith & Wesson rifle to fire in fully automatic mode, they made a modification that defeated the ban on detachable magazines, and they used a detachable high-capacity magazine (California laws limit magazines to a maximum of ten rounds, and the magazine must be fixed by to the rifle and require a tool such as a bullet, pen, or other implement to remove it, thereby creating a delay in the rate at which spent magazines can be replaced.) According to theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the modifications made the guns illegal assault weapons.
How gun control failed to stop the San Bernardino terrorists
The state of California has some of the most restrictive anti-gun laws in the United States. Yet the terrorists who perpetrated the San Bernardino attack were not stopped by California’s strict anti-gun laws. Instead, the terrorists were quite willing to violate California’s laws against private gun sales/transfers and modifying a gun into a so-called “assault weapon.” That isn’t surprising, as a person who is willing to kill as many people as possible before dying themselves will not be deterred by any law. Just as the November 13, 2015 Paris Attackers used illegally obtained machine guns to commit their crimes, the San Bernardino terrorists were also quite willing to break the law. The same is true for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists and the Tolouse terrorists, who again circumvented the ultra-strict gun control laws in France as they killed defenseless victims. Indeed, one need only look to Britain – and island nation with fewer civil liberties and a smaller population than the USA – to see that even the strictest gun control at the national level is always doomed to fail. Whether they smuggle guns into the country, steal guns from the police, or manufacture illegal guns themselves, criminals who want guns will get them just as easily as criminals who want drugs will be supplied.
The best solution to terrorist attacks is armed citizens
A terrorist who is dead set on killing innocent people in their name of their god before being “martyred” will not listen to reason, or conform their behavior to the law. No possible punishment in this world will deter such a person, as they do not intend to stay in this world long enough for any such punishment to be inflicted.
Armed citizens can and do stop terrorist attacks. I have discussed multiple previous instances where terrorists have been shot by armed citizens, saving lives. The police cannot be everywhere, and so the the only realistic way to stop a terrorist before they can cause great harm is to have armed citizens ready to act when a terrorist strikes. If instead of vilifying guns we were to instead promote safe and lawful gun ownership, and encourage law abiding citizens to carry, then perhaps terrorists would not be able to slaughter their victims with impunity.