Will more laws stop evil people from committing evil acts of violence? No.
Within hours after a man opened fire on a Las Vegas crowd, killing 59 and wounding more than 500, a chorus of calls came for further restrictions on firearms and those who own them. As these groups, politicians and individuals jumped the gun in their judgments, we have learned that he — I refuse to mention his name — used an automatic rifle to commit his evil act.
Such firearms are heavily regulated. An individual, before taking possession, must submit a Form 4 with the local chief law enforcement officer’s approval. They also must submit a set of their fingerprints with the application. A $200 payment in the form of a tax must be paid as well. Oh, then there is the background check, which is far more extensive than the background check that is required to purchase a nonautomatic firearm from a federally licensed dealer. The wait for approval/denial can take anywhere from 9 to 18 months. Lastly, the dealer must be licensed as a Class III dealer by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
These firearms are some of the most heavily regulated arms in America. Moreover, the mass murderer had passed background checks when he purchased a firearm in Las Vegas and Mesquite, Nevada.
So, if strict laws already exist, how would more laws have stopped this evil person from murdering so many people?
In the 1930s, there was a call to regulate automatic firearms. Such a law was passed in 1934. In the 1960s, there was a call to license firearm sellers, prohibit certain individuals from possessing firearms, restrict imports, and the like. It all became law in 1968. In the 1990s there was a call for background checks. A law was passed requiring them in 1994. In the 2000s, there was a call to have mental health adjudications added to the prohibited-possessor list. The law was passed in 2008 and added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. These are just the major highlights of laws passed restricting the individual right to bear and keep arms.
Details will emerge over the next several weeks that may shed light on the “why” behind his attack on the concert-goers, but I believe we can already draw a conclusion that his moral compass was out of whack.
We have serious problems in America and it isn’t that we have too much freedom, or that the possession of firearms are not regulated enough. The problem is the lack of a moral compass by far too many.
We must exercise self control to the moral code. What moral code? That we shall do no harm to another unless that individual wishes to do us harm.
So how do we get there?
At the top of my list would be leadership rather than demagoguery.
We have our fair share of demagogues as is evidenced by all the calls for more “gun control laws” by so many celebrities and politicians. One went as far as to demand Congress get of their “bleep” and do something about gun violence.
Congress cannot fix what ails us and no law they can pass will stop it. The problem is one of a lack of morality; it is not a problem of too few laws.
In closing, let’s treat the illness. Let’s stop talking about more laws and start talking about who we have become as a people. Let’s lead and stop the one-upmanship in order to score political points.