Saturday, February 24, 2018


At, Frank Miniter has published an opinion piece titled "America Has Two Gun Cultures: Don't Blame Law-Abiding Gun Owners for Murders." He writes:
... the truth that is many in the media refuse to cover the truth about guns and the gun cultures in America. They don’t want to admit there are two wildly different gun cultures in our country. One is the freedom-loving, gun-rights culture that upholds the responsible use of guns for hunting, sport and self-defense. The other is the criminal culture that thrives in the places where government restricts gun rights.
This is "no true Scotsman" reasoning: Members of the gun culture are law-abiding; if a gun owner is found not to be law-abiding, and is in fact found to be a rage-disordered mass murderer, then the only possible conclusion is that he wasn't a true member of the gun culture.

But, of course, there isn't a separate mass-murderer gun culture. The typical mass murderer acquires his weapons from the same dealers who sell to law-abiding gun owners. Rules custom-tailored to suit the preferences of the "respectable" gun community -- sell unlimited numbers guns of virtually any kind to anyone of legal age who passes a background check, skip the background check at gun shows and online, saturate much of America with venues where guns can be purchased -- offer a remarkable level of convenience for non-criminal gun owners at the cost of making it ridiculously easy for those with violent intent to buy anything they want. It's like removing speed limit signs in a school zone because surely good, decent people will know better than to speed there, and then absolving yourself of responsibility when some people don't.

Here's an example of how the "good" gun culture creates loopholes violent people can exploit:
On Wednesday, during CNN's town hall with survivors of last week's mass shooting at a high school in South Florida, National Rifle Association representative Dana Loesch lamented the holes in the FBI's National Instant Background Check System, or NICS.

"This madman passed a background check. How was he able to pass a background check? He was able to pass a background check because we have a system that's flawed," Loesch said on stage. "It is not federal law for states to report convictions to the NICS system. It is not federally mandated. That's the big question, and I wish that this network had also covered this more."

In fact, it was the NRA that led the effort to block the federal mandate, by financing and arguing the US Supreme Court case that let states off the hook. The 1997 decision in Printz v. United States threw out part of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, and made it optional for local courts, police departments and states to submit background information on residents.
It's clear that authorities failed to flag Nikolas Cruz as a person who needed extra scrutiny. But the "good" gun culture tells us that there's nothing odd or unusual about a person buying gun after gun in a short span of time. (Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock did the same thing.) The "good" gun culture says it's normal, if not admirable, to show off one's large arsenal online. The "good" gun culture says that guns are virtuous and therapeutic. ("American Sniper" Chris Kyle was killed by a military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who was believed likely to benefit from a few recreational hours at the gun range. The gun range is where he killed Kyle.)

What's more, the propaganda of the "good" gun culture inspires those who want to commit violent acts. The "good" gun culture says that societal wrongs can be righted with a gun. If you have a gun, this culture says, malefactors will get their just deserts. If you're a bullied kid or a resentful ex-husband, you've heard that rhetoric. You murder because you're looking for what you consider justice.

Sorry -- the good and bad gun cultures can't be separated. There's only one gun culture in America.

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