The Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, Florida was scene of a horrific mass murder today. While details are still coming in, we already know some relevant details about this tragedy:
Omar Mateen’s father, told NBC News that his son’s actions had “nothing to do with religion.” He noted that his son got angry when he saw two men kissing in Miami a couple of months ago and thinks that homophobia may have inspired his son to attack the nightclub.
Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, a registered Democrat and Muslim from Port St. Lucie, killed 50 victims and wounded 53 more.
Mateen was on an FBI list of suspected ISIS sympathizers and was looked into by federal authorities once in 2013 and again in 2014. He was the subject of a brief FBI investigation in 2014 before the case was closed
The 911 call pledging allegiance to ISIS shows he was emotionally or intellectually sympathetic to ISIS
This is certainly a tragedy, and the loss of life and injuries here will cause much suffering, for many people, for a long time. The solution to situations such as this is to prevent them from happening again. To do otherwise is ineffective and wrong.
So, what is the solution? In many of the news articles that have appeared today, it is suggested that gun control laws are the answer. They are not. As a a starting point, Florida state law already banned gun possession in establishment where the shooting took place, as Florida law bans gun in bars. Not surprisingly, the killer had not problem breaking that law, just as he had not problem breaking the laws against murder, just as he had no problems breaking the laws against terrorism. Indeed, virtually every mass shooting has taken place in a gun free zone.
Some will argue that banning so-called assault weapons will solve the problem of mass murder. However, the fact is that so-called assault weapons may look scary to those who are ignorant about guns – but such guns are no more deadly than “ordinary” looking guns. Also, the statistics show that criminals rarely use such firearms in crime. The argument in favor of banning “high capacity” magazines is also fatally flawed, as it takes just a second to change a magazine, making such a ban pointless.
Confronted with those facts, some individuals argue that the solution is a nation-wide ban on guns. That is not a solution, as the British have learned. Instead, such a nation-wide ban on guns just leads to criminals illegally manufacturing guns themselves, smuggling guns into the country, stealing guns from the police, and using other tools to inflict harm. Indeed, British gun-related crime doubled in the decade after the gun ban was implemented. Given that Britain is a smaller country, with an easier-to-police border, with fewer civil rights to stop the police from searching citizens on a hunch, there is simply no way that the United States could succeed at nation-wide gun control where the British have failed. Moreover, there are hundreds of millions of guns in the United States which would not simply vanish.
The simplest, easiest, cheapest, and fastest solution is likely the most effective: Remove the restrictions that prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying a gun for self defense. Over the last decade there has been a tremendous increase in concealed carry in the United States. Despite the doom and gloom predicted by those opposed to gun rights, both crime as a whole and gun related crime has decreased over that same decade. America’s concealed carry permit holders have demonstrated themselves to be law abiding, less likely to shoot the wrong person than the police, and imminently capable of effectively using their guns in self defense. They have stopped would-be murderers, rapists, home invaders, robbers, and other violent criminals, saving themselves, their loved ones, and even police officers.
Humans have been terrible towards each other since before recorded history, and will continue to do so whether or not they have guns. Since guns cannot be “un-invented,” it is safe to say that a criminal who wants a gun will get one, and no law can change that. Gun bans only ensure that the people who were not going to misuse their guns in the first place are disarmed and at the mercy of the killers who laugh at gun control laws as they go about their murder spree. The sooner we realize that, the sooner that mass shootings in gun free zones will be stopped.