by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The impulse to act to stop the domestic massacres that have become a heartbreakingly metronomic feature of American life is laudable and understandable. “It’s time,” as Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said, giving voice to the sentiment, “for Congress to get off its a– and do something.”
The problem is that the “something,” namely all the usual gun-control proposals, isn’t well-suited to stopping mass shootings. But liberal politicians never let the inapplicability of their proposals stop them. The passion with which they advocate for new gun-control measures is inversely related to their prospective efficacy.
The go-to proposal is universal back-ground checks, although the perpetrators of mass shootings usually haven’t been adjudicated and therefore have passed background checks, as Paddock did in purchasing at least some of his guns.
He had no history of mental illness, and people who knew him didn’t report any bizarre behavior. He had no criminal record, beyond a minor violation years ago. He didn’t even have politics that anyone was aware of. ISIS is claiming responsibility, but the FBI says it hasn’t found any evidence of a connection. His brother seemed sincerely dumbfounded and called Paddock “just a guy.”
No enhanced background-check regime, no matter how vigorous, would have stopped him from purchasing guns.