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Of Car Keys and "Gun Control"

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Houston Gun Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Houston Gun Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
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The clamor for "gun control" never goes away in American politics. It occasionally simmers down to a dull roar, but every mass shooting recharges the bullhorn batteries.

Thus, in the wake of the recent atrocities in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, a Morning Consult / Politico Poll poll says that 56% of Americans consider it "a top priority" or "an important, but lower priority" for Congress to pass legislation "placing additional restrictions on gun ownership," with only 23% saying that "shouldn't be done."

To put it a different way, 56% of Americans resemble the proverbial drunk looking for his car keys under a streetlight, rather than a block away where he lost them, because "the light is better here."

Let's set aside the stock arguments over whether the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental human right (it is), whether that right is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution (it is), etc., and focus on the question of whether, if passed, such legislation would solve the problem of mass shootings.

The answer: It wouldn't.

First of all, mass shooters are criminals. They don't care about your laws. They operate outside those laws. Including, as you may have noticed, the "Gun Free School Zones Act," sponsored by then-US-Senator Joe Biden back in the 1990s. If they want guns, they'll get guns. If they decide to try to use those guns to kill innocents, they won't consult the statutes before acting.

Secondly, such legislation could not be meaningfully implemented without a bloodbath the likes of which the US hasn't seen since 1865.

While estimates vary, at the conservative end (pun not intended) more than 100 million Americans own more than 400 million guns.

For many if not most of those guns and gun owners, the response to "gun control" legislation will always be "no."

You can't have them.

If you're not stupid, you won't try to take them.

If you do try to take them, go long on the stocks of companies that provide burial, cremation, and funeral services first, because they're going to make bank. If even 1% of those gun owners resist your edict, it's going to get very, very ugly.

You don't have to like it. That's how it is whether you like it or not.

Even if you don't agree that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.

Even if you don't agree that the Second Amendment means what it says.

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Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.

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