Two recent tragedies have provided yet another soapbox for the antigun crowd. In one incident a six year old bully brought a gun to school and used it to kill another six year old that he didn’t like. In the other incident a man filled with rage killed several people just because he was upset and they happened to be targets of opportunity. The TV screen has been predictably filled with antigun activists proclaiming the need for more gun control legislation. They say that they may not achieve immediate success against the evil NRA but that eventually they will prevail. They might be right. There are an awful lot of these fuzzy thinkers being interviewed by sympathetic “newsmen” on TV and radio. I don’t read the editorial pages of the influential newspapers, but I suspect I would find more of the same there if I did. Nowhere have I seen anyone ask whether additional legislation would have prevented these tragedies. Rational analysis seems to have fallen victim to rationalization.

In the case of the little boy, he got a gun that had been left unattended by an adult in his home. The adult was a criminal, and the gun was supposed to protect him as he engaged in his criminal activity. Would gun control laws have kept that gun out of this child’s hands? The adult had stolen the gun. Gun control measures do not normally affect criminals. The handwringers, however, point out that if they could just get trigger locks, tragedies of this sort would be prevented. Would they? I suspect that the average criminal would not choose a gun with a trigger lock. The criminal mind would probably conclude that if the gun is needed, it is likely to be needed in a hurry, and one would not want to be fooling with trigger locks. If the law required trigger locks, what are the chances that this criminal would have had a gun with the required lock? Guns without them will always be available on the black market, which is one of the places where a criminal is likely to get a gun. Another place a criminal is likely to get a gun is on the premises of a theft victim. If he has the misfortune to steal one with a lock, I’m sure he will be able to find someone who can disable it for him. If the law required trigger locks, would this gun have had one? Get serious!

The man who killed people just because they were present while he was enraged presents us with another “reason” for gun control. I don’t think we need dwell on the trigger lock issue. I doubt the killer was so enraged that he would have forgotten how to unlock the trigger. Would less availability of guns have prevented this killing spree? If the man really wanted a gun to kill someone, he could get it. If he owned a gun legally it would have been available when he became enraged. One scenario, though, seems to support the argument of the gun control advocates. What if he did not own a gun at the time he became enraged? If he had to wait a week or so to buy one, he would probably cool down by the time he got it. True enough; but that does not mean he would not have killed a bunch of people. He could always become enraged again after legally buying the gun. What then? Let’s say that he can’t get a gun at all, ever, by any means, legal or illegal. Would people then be safe from him? I doubt it. Guns are not the only lethal weapons available to enraged people. If we are going to make the world safe by controlling weapons, we had better control more than guns. A machete, an axe, or a stick of dynamite, just to name a few possibilities, can kill as effectively as a gun.

We live in a rather sick society. We don’t need to attack the means by which criminals and madmen work their mischief. We need to attack the sickness; i.e., the criminals and the madmen. Lord, protect me from the quick fix fools!