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It’s Not the Guns, it’s the Crazy

Clayton Cramer takes a look at the Santa Monica mass shooter. California’s gun laws, in this case, didn’t help anything. He was a prohibited purchaser under California law, because he had been committed for observation:

Gun-control advocates, at least the more rational ones, will usually admit that these laws only work at the margins, by making guns harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get.  I can buy that argument; all laws work only at the margins, and that is all that they have to do to justify their existence.  I can also agree that when there is a large stockpile of illegal goods in circulation, it can take a while before laws aimed at those goods will remove them from the illegal marketplace.  Still, when I see that laws that are decades old failed to disarm a 24 year old who could not possibly have legally acquired this weapon, I find myself wondering in what century California’s gun-control laws are going to be effective.

I think it’s questionable whether these laws even work at the margins. The problem is that anyone determined to get a gun can, generally speaking, obtain one. Banning in-demand products doesn’t seem to have very much success, even at the margins.

11 Responses to “It’s Not the Guns, it’s the Crazy”

  1. Philbert says:

    Do we know how he obtained his firearms? I don’t think we can make conclusions about laws without knowing that.

    • Felix says:

      He could not have obtained them legally. Arguing about which laws he broke is meaningless. It won’t even inform future laws, since hoplophobes have shown no past propensity for such guidance.

  2. MicroBalrog says:

    I am not sure it is relevant whether gun control works.

    I am not sure a situation where nobody, not even the criminals, can have guns – assuming it is possible – is an improvement over one where everybody, even the criminals, has guns.

  3. I have written before about how a society that was magically (and it would take magic) cleansed of guns would likely be a more violent society.

    There is general agreement that there are people who should not have access to guns. The difficulty is that laws to accomplish this only work at the margins, when they work at all, and the laws that actually get passed seem more intent on disarming everyone in the delusional hope that they this will disarm those most dangerous.

    • Rob Crawford says:

      Clayton, there’s a whole body of works about societies without guns and how violent they are. It’s called “history”.

      Snark aside, the book “War Before Civilization” is a scholarly work on the subject.

  4. TS says:

    It also depends on how they define “worked”. It worked at preventing me from owning an AR-15.

  5. Asdf says:

    You miss the point entirely. The fact that California’s laws didn’t work is because the AR 15 is still legal right over the state border. That’s why we need to ban them federally, just like we did before, which worked so very well at preventing Columbine!

  6. chris says:

    All you have to remember it’s not about guns, or health care,or any of the rest of the crap they’re trying to shove down our throats. It’s all about CONTROL. They want to tell us when to get up in the morning- then when to go to sleep at night. & everything else in between. Read 1984 again or if you haven’t read it for the first time. They have to take our guns first.

  7. Archer says:

    Has anyone determined yet if his guns were “CA-legal” yet? We already know his magazines weren’t (>10 rounds already banned), but did the AR have a “bullet button” installed or was it a CA-defined “assault weapon”?

    Splitting hairs, I know, but the more laws he broke to commit his crimes, the more ridiculous and hollow the “just one more law” argument sounds.

    [snark] Clearly the REAL solution is to ban campus carry, make CCW a “may-(not)-issue” permit, impose “universal background checks”, craft a newly-revised “assault weapon” ban, and close the “shoot your classmates in the face” loophole. […what? … What do you mean, “they have all that already”?… doesn’t matter…] We need MORE “reasonable, common-sense” restrictions! Do it again, HARDER!! [/snark]

  8. Zermoid says:

    Ya know what really worries me?
    He used a black powder revolver.
    Looked like an 1857 Remington but I’m not positive.
    The last bit of true freedom we have left, no restrictions, no checks, can even be ordered by mail (Just like machine guns USED to be able to be ordered, along with handguns and rifles) or bought at the local department store or hardware store with No Paperwork what so ever.

    If there isn’t a call for restrictions on black powder arms soon as well I’ll be shocked.

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