Want to check out an embarrassing attempt to push forward anti-gun legislation under the guise of making us safer? Check out a rather dishonest Seattle Times editorial board piece here. It’s chock-full of silly arguments with holes big enough to drive a truck through.
The basic premise of the piece is that “gun laws work,” which is true until they don’t work.
“They will never stop every homicide, but they clearly work,” the editorial board says. It’s a meaningless argument for a number of reasons.
No one claims gun laws don’t work to some degree. The question is always about how they work, why they work, and whether or not they respect the Second Amendment. Beyond that, a question we often ask but never seem to get a response on is whether or not the laws on the books aren’t currently being enforced.
But how do you define whether or not a gun law works if they won’t ever stop every single homicide? You can’t. Which is how anti-gun folks prefer it. The argument used by the Times is pretty simple: laws that lessen the likelihood of an illegal gun death show success. But, at the same time, we hear from the political Left that “one gun death is one too many,” which is why the editorial board is pushing for a ban on “military-style weapons.”
In the piece, they write:
To see why gun laws matter, compare Washington state to Texas, the location of America’s most recent mass-shooting tragedy. Texas had 18 state firearm laws and a firearm homicide rate of 4.04 deaths per 100,000 in 2015, according to the State Firearm Law Database collected by the Boston University School of Public Health. Washington had 43 firearm laws and a firearm homicide rate of 2.32 deaths per 100,000 in 2015.
The Times is implying a causal relationship when it does not exist in this case. It turns out, shockingly, that context matters. What the Times doesn’t tell you is that in Illinois, which has 64 gun laws (many more than Washington state), their firearm homicide rate is 5.45 deaths per 100,000 in 2015 (many more than, you guessed it, Washington state). Using the Times argument, I can compare Washington and Illinois to argue more gun laws lead to more gun murders. When you cherry pick data, it makes it easy to push a specific agenda.
Beyond that, their argument lacks context. There are more gun owners in Texas than in Washington. Texas is a border state dealing with more violent crime. The gun culture there is different than here. None of these points are addressed in any meaningful way.
The Times goes on to say:
Stronger laws are far from an impenetrable shield. The Texas gunman was able to purchase a military-style rifle and slaughtered 26 people in part because the Air Force failed to enter the man’s domestic-violence court-martial into a federal gun background check database.
Shouldn’t our safety be more important than political contributions from the NRA? If lawmakers can’t take hard votes to protect the lives of constituents, they shouldn’t be serving in Congress or the state Legislature.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to fully enforce the existing law, instead of using this as an opportunity to push a new one? Oh, but they need to go down this path so they can take pot shots at the NRA, an organization that does what Planned Parenthood does (lobby on behalf of constitutional protections), but because the Times disagrees with what they’re lobbying for, it makes the NRA evil.
Every group with an agenda can supply data to make their point. We should enact more laws when necessary and it should be done in a way that respects our Second Amendment rights. I’m open to all laws that are constitutional. And I think we’re better off debating these issues openly and honestly. But, to get to that point, we should at least start by ensuring the laws on the books are currently enforced, particularly since they weren’t in Texas and it lead to a mass shooting.