Washington Report – Exploiting a Tragedy

capitolbuildingdaylightWell, here we go again. A single madman motivated by lunacy beyond anyone’s control committed a heinous act in Charleston, South Carolina. In knee-jerk response, politicians ranging from the president to the local mayor began calling for new restrictions on the Second Amendment rights of everyone who committed no crime.

Even while evidence was still being collected, the president felt compelled to take the podium and issue a stern lecture, saying, “At some point, we as a country, will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.” Your correspondent, however, could list more than 20 instances of mass killing that took place in Europe alone in the past 15 years. The most recent, of course, was the terrorist attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo and a nearby kosher market. The most notorious happened in Norway, where Anders Brevik detonated a car bomb, then shot and killed 69 people in 2011.

Another inconvenient truth — to borrow a phrase – is that nothing in Obama’s sweeping gun control agenda would have prevented this tragedy. The killer bought the gun legally at retail, so he passed the required background check. And according to press reports, he reloaded his semiautomatic pistol five times, which would have left him with 50 rounds available under Obama’s proposed limits on magazine capacity. So even if the Congress had passed the entire Obama gun control agenda in 2013, anti-gun zealots would now be pointing to the failure of these measures as evidence of the need for even more restrictions.

The exploitation of tragedy has been the hallmark of the gun control lobby, dating back to the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968. But it remains to be seen whether this incident will actually spur any real debate over further limiting the rights of hunters and gun owners.

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