Friday, July 20, 2012

Why Don’t Mass Shootings Lead to Gun Control? By Adam Winkler

After the horrific Dark Knight massacre in Colorado, there are already calls for greater gun control. But if history is any guide, Adam Winkler says it’s unlikely that anything but sympathy will result.

With twelve people dead and around fifty wounded, the mass shooting at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado showing the latest Batman movie, has already led to calls for new gun control laws. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s leading gun control group, declared that victims of gun crime “don’t want sympathy. We want action.” Yet it’s unlikely that anything but sympathy will come from this horrific act. Over the past twenty years, it’s become increasingly clear that mass shootings, no matter how tragic, don’t lead to reforms of gun law.
Thirteen years ago, Colorado suffered through another devastating mass shooting, at Columbine High School. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, two seniors at the school, opened fire on students and teachers, killing 13. It was the worst high school shooting in American history—and no gun laws were reformed in its wake.

Last year, Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman from Arizona, was targeted by Jared Loughner, who emptied his 9mm Glock on a crowd of Giffords supporters in a Tucson parking lot. Although Giffords survived, six people died, including a federal judge. And once again, no new gun control laws were passed.

Recent years have also been scarred by mass shootings at a hair salon in Seal Beach, California (8 dead); at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas (13 dead); and a community center in Binghampton, New York (13 dead). Unfortunately, this is not an exhaustive list.

Following the shooting in Colorado, New York City Mayor Bloomberg calls on Romney and Obama to take a stand on gun control.

The only exception was the Virginia Tech massacre (32 dead), which led Congress to provide additional funds for states to use to gather and report to the federal government background information on potential gun purchasers. While this law, signed by President George W. Bush, was needed, it didn’t amount to a significant change in our gun control laws.

Virginia Tech may be the exception that proves the rule: no matter how many people die, gun control does not move.

This wasn’t always the case...Read the full story by Adam Winkler at The Daily Beast

Author: Adam Winkler (born July 25, 1967) is a professor of constitutional law at the UCLA School of Law. He is the author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, (published in 2011 by W.W. Norton & Company) and a frequent commentator about legal issues... more



  1. ► Read more: In the wake of another mass shooting, a question: Why Colorado? - The Denver Post


  2. ► Read more: "Shadows". By Russell Foltz-Smith /