Larry Pratt, the director of Gun Owners of America, surprised even Fox News host Chris Wallace when he said that background checks are basically pointless. He stated that they “give us a false sense of security” and that we should be concentrating on getting rid of gun-free zones.
Here’s the video:
CHRIS WALLACE: So let’s talk about universal background checks, because I was surprised to find out that as this [unintelligible] suggests, that in 40% of the sales there was no such screening on the person buying the gun. What’s wrong with universal background checks?
LARRY PRATT: Well, I think it’s a false security to think that somehow we’re going to spot problems when there’s really no way to spot these problems. Some of the most horrendous of the mass murders that have occurred recently, including the one of in Newtown, would not have been stopped by a background check. The gun is stolen, the person has no prior record. And so to assume that this is going to be our firewall against mass murders…
WALLACE: I don’t think anyone’s saying it’s a firewall, but what’s wrong with the idea if you’re gonna get a gun, whether you buy it from a registered dealer or whether you buy it in a private sale, that you’d have to go through some kind of background check just in case, to find out whether somebody’s a felon or to find out if somebody’s got a mental health problem?
PRATT: We’re wasting our time going in that direction when we should be talking about doing away with the gun-free zones, which have been so convenient, such a magnet, to those who would come and slaughter lots of people, knowing that there’s going to be nobody that’s legally able to defend themselves in these zones. That’s where we’re really making our big mistake.
He’s seriously wrong on both counts.
I probably don’t have to explain how his thoughts on background checks are completely insane, but I will anyway. He’s saying that because it is possible for crazy people and/or felons to get guns by stealing them, we should allow them to legally purchase weapons. That makes a ton of sense, right? After all, there might be a few would-be murderers out there that don’t know where to steal a gun that might benefit from not needing a background check, and the gun industry has had some really hard times lately (not).
I’ve heard time and time again — sometimes from people that are otherwise very intelligent — that schools and such shouldn’t be gun-free zones because gun-free zones attract killers. Um, no. Correlation does not imply causation.
Let’s examine some facts surrounding mass shootings:
1) Not all mass shootings occur in gun free zones — movie theaters, malls, etc.
2) Quite a few mass shootings are caused by a mentally imbalanced individual who has a grudge against the people in a certain area. It just so happens that those are frequently schools–perhaps because kids are often cruel towards socially-inept peers–and the perpetrator has a grudge against a person or several people associated with the facility.
3) Columbine had an armed guard and the Fort Hood shooting was on a military base.
Schools being designated as gun-free zones doesn’t cause shootings; they’re gun-free zones because of shootings. Have you noticed that most shooters recently have wound up dead (usually by their own hand)? These people aren’t concerned with danger, or worried about other people having weapons. They aren’t thinking about that. Just because schools are supposed to be gun-free but shootings happen there anyway does not mean that these gun-related tragedies occur there specifically due to that reason.
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