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.