In a legal sense, the Supreme Court recently affirmed an individual’s right to “keep and bear arms.” That is not to say that it destroyed all rationality regarding the use of background checks, leaving those procedures in place, but setting the bar low enough that gun control cannot amount to a de facto regulatory ban on gun ownership and use in self-defense by law-abiding individuals.
From what I view to be a common sense perspective, gun control is ineffective in preventing murder but very effective in preventing the use of firearms as a means of defense. In California, where I grew up and where the restrictions on the use of firearms for self-defense are repressive and have been ever since I can remember, there have been multiple incidents of crazies with guns committing mass murder. It happened at a McDonald’s. It happened in a neighborhood in Los Angeles in early 90’s where two perpetrators clad in bullet-proof gear with multiple bags full of illegal weapons went on a murder spree that consisted of several venues and lasted for hours. And this list of recollections doesn’t include incidents of drive-by shootings which are too common and numerous to count. There have been at least two incidents of crazies with guns shooting into crowds since I have been living here in New York, and I don’t believe anyone can accuse New York of lax gun control. On one of the tragic occasions, a shooting victim had a permit for a handgun, but by law was required to keep it locked in the trunk of his vehicle when not being used for home protection or on a shooting range. It happened 3 months ago in a Canadian mall, a country where all firearms are contraband.
I would have rather heard about a crazy with a gun whose plan was thwarted Friday night by a moviegoer who was legally armed than the news we did hear – a mass of unarmed innocence being shot dead because no one had the means to stop him. We do not need more laws restricting the law-abiding from defending themselves – we need less – much less.