Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 776, June 22, 2014

Every man, woman, and responsible child has an
unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional,
and human right to obtain, own, and carry, openly
or concealed, any weapon—rifle, shotgun,
handgun, machinegun, anything—any time,
any place, without asking anyone's permission.

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Brady, Bunk and Santa Barbara
by C.D. Michel

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

The Brady Campaign was oddly mute at first about the recent tragic Santa Barbara slayings.

Could it be because half of the victims were killed with a knife— three young men were stabbed to death before the killer ever chambered a round?

Perhaps. More likely it is because California ranks #1 on the Brady Scorecard for strict gun control laws, none of which stopped a criminally insane, mentally impaired, pill popping resident of an adult disability center. The Santa Barbara tragedy is another gun control failure.

By now you have heard about Elliot Rodger. Like the mass murder at Sandy Hook, Elliot suffered from Asperger's and harbored a massive amount of resentment for the human race, particularly women in Rodger's case.

The Santa Barbara culprit planned his attacks for months. He slowly and silently acquired his tools of death, and then carried out his detailed plans. As with most mass murderers—as evidenced by none other than Mother Jones reporters—mental illness was the common thread.

Suicidal crazy people bent on murder don't worry about the laws; not traffic laws, not gun laws, not homicide laws.

Events like Elliot Rodgers' Santa Barbara massacre are statistically rare. His was not a mass public shooting (MPS) but rather an active shooter event (ASE), these being the standard criminological definitions. Tragic and heart wrenching as these episodes always are, they are few in number, both in terms of the events themselves and the number of people who die from them (in 2008, the last year for which I have complete records, there were six ASEs with 12 people killed). This is a drop in the bucket of 11,000 annual criminal firearm homicides, mainly gang/drug related. From an arms control standpoint, ASEs are a low priority.

Which won't stop the Joyce Foundation, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence or the Brady Campaign from trying to make them an urgent issue justifying more laws that won't work.

Ironically, California tops the Brady Campaign's state-by-state score card for strict gun control laws. Cali earns an A- rating with a grade of 89 per Brady. If the gun control laws touted by the Brady Campaign were effective ... at anything ... then the Santa Barbara slayings would never have happened (in all fairness to Brady, which is undeserved, they did score California zero points for mental health reporting ... to the FBI, which in Elliot Rodgers' case would have also been meaningless). CNN and other news outlets cite local law enforcement in noting that "Inside Rodger's car ... police found three handguns ... all legally purchased."

So where does California score high in terms of the Brady Campaign's myopic vision of guns?

  • Eleven points for state-level background checks (which Elliot passed).
  • One point for prohibiting guns to misdemeanor violence convicts (Elliot had no prior history of such).
  • Another point for laws against guns for booze abusers (no record about Elliot sneaking hooch into his adult disability center, though in his exit manifesto he did say he would initiate his suicide by swallowing the rest of his Xanax and Vicodin).
  • One point to prohibit the seriously mentally ill from buying guns (Elliot's Asperger's Syndrome didn't count).
  • Two points for requiring microstamping on all the pistols Elliot bought (he really didn't care who traced the bullets back to him).
  • And many points for dealer regulations, waiting periods, licensing and registration, and guns that pass a drop test.

Brady also adds points since California effectively prohibits concealed carry (which might have slowed or stopped the slaughter) and would have subtracted points if Cali had a stand-your-ground law (permitting you to shoot someone like Elliot while they are in the act).

So how effective were California's numerous, onerous, and top-rated gun control laws in preventing Santa Barbara? And exactly what new laws would truly make a difference next time someone lost their mind?

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