Guns And Mass Shootings


What is the role of guns in the US?  Clearly, guns in the hands of mentally deranged individuals can result in mass casualty events.  And, although the common argument for guns is that victims of mass shootings can defend themselves with guns,  if we look at the Vegas shooting, clearly, the victims would not have been able to defend themselves even if they were armed.  The effect of the legality of guns on mass shootings is some what complex.

Would someone as committed as the Vegas shooter be deterred from getting guns if they were illegal?   If we look at Mexico, where guns are illegal accross the entire country, cartels still end up with guns and citizens still obtain guns for self defense despite guns being illegal.  So, the illegality of guns within a country does not prevent the guns from being there, and it does not prevent the guns from being used by criminals.

It is said that gun laws are only obeyed by people who don't break the law, and that criminals would get the guns either way.  And, although we can see this is true from the case of Mexico and Chicago, gun laws can still deter unhinged individuals like the many young male shooters.  

It becomes a matter of how committed is the mass murderer.  For some shooters who are only mildly committed, if it were more difficult to get guns, they probably would not have gotten the guns.  And, in some of these cases, the shooting occurred because the shooter already owned guns they used.

If guns were illegal, and the unhinged individual did not own guns because, let's say, the individual were otherwise law abiding, then it would either be expected that the individual would not commit mass murder, or the individual would use a different form of weapon.   

If the unhinged individual were highly motivated and as well funded as the Vegas shooter, it might be expected that he would either obtain the guns illegally, or he would use something else just as effective, like a car, mass poising, or a bomb.

So, this presents two scenarios for consideration.  Either a mass shooter is so committed that it doesn't matter whether guns are illegal, because either way, he will find a way to commit mass murder, or the mass shooter is not so committed, and may not go out of his way to obtain guns illegally.

If the shooter is not as calculated and motivated, we can see from such events, the shooter tends to shoot people up close.  And, when a mass shooter is shooting people up close, it provides the victims with the opportunity to use guns in self defense.  

If there were a wide prevalence of gun carrying, you could expect mass shooting events to be very short lived, ending in the quick death of the mass shooter.  And, this reality would deter such mass shooters.  We can see this in the fact that the Aurora shooter went out of his way to go to a theater that was gun free rather than attacking a closer theater that allowed guns.

In both of these scenarios, either wherein you have a highly motivated shooter or where you have a mildly motivated shooter, the effect of the legality of guns ranges from increasing the devastation to decreasing the devastation.

So, when you hear people reacting to shootings by wanting to ban guns, know that the matter is not so simple.  And the consideration of guns as they apply to mass shootings does not address the fundamental purpose of guns in America.  To address the fundamental purpose of guns in America, there will be another video.

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