Over 80 Percent Of Guns Used In Mass Shooting Obtained Legally — So Let’s Change The Laws

The weapons that were used in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, were purchased legally — but this is not exactly something new. Critics regularly point out that people who commit acts of mass violence with guns obtained their weapons legally — including through loopholes the NRA and its acolytes fight to protect. Recently, Republicans followed their orders from the NRA and blocked legislation that would preserve the “rights” of even suspected terrorists to buy all the high-powered toys they want — after all, some of their best friends are on the watch list.

NBC reports that more than 80 percent of the guns used in mass shootings — including the four used in the San Bernardino massacre — are purchased entirely legally, thanks to our nation’s traditionally lax firearm regulations. The ease with which the shooters obtained their weapons, of course, confirmed Texas state Representative Tony Dale’s assertion that it is way too easy for terrorists to get guns. He was, of course, speaking solely of Texas, but the statement truly applies nationwide as long as we resist universal background checks or, at minimum, a ban on suspected terrorists purchasing weapons.

As California Governor Jerry Brown pointed out Sunday, our nation’s loose gun laws — specifically in Arizona and Nevada — are a “gigantic back door for terrorists.” Terrorist organizations agree with Governor Brown, though they have an entirely different take on the situation. In 2011, a spokesman for Al Qaeda joined the NRA and the GOP in praising the ease with which seemingly anyone with a pulse can buy guns in the United States, urging supporters to “go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card” — It’s strikingly similar advice to that which is offered by conservative die-hards when someone just has to have a way to mow down a crowd of people.

This year alone, there have been more than 350 mass shootings. No matter how many there have been, the data is clear: most of the weapons purchased by shooters are obtained legally. According to an analysis by Mother Jones, 82 percent of weapons involved were completely legal.

The Second Amendment was written when we only had single-shot muskets to worry about. The framers of the Constitution did not intend it to protect the rights of individuals to own guns but, rather, the ability of slave catchers (southern state militias were normally tasked with rounding up escaped slaves or quelling the occasional revolt) to fire back if the federal government attempted to end slavery by force. It was not until 2008 when, thanks to a misguided 5-4 Supreme Court decision brought about by a complete twisting of the Second Amendment, the individual right to bear arms was affirmed.

It’s far too easy to get a gun in America — and it’s time that we examine the ease with which dangerous individuals — terrorists or not — can buy weapons. After all, the NRA’s “good guys with guns” have not managed to stop a single mass shooting yet, but the killers have always relied on their ability to walk to a gun show and buy anything they want no matter who they are or what problems they have.


Featured Image via Hopkins Gun and Tackle