David Frum, writing after a recent previous slaughter in The Atlantic notes that gun massacres are likely to produce even more access to guns.
That’s what happened after the Connecticut elementary school slaughter.
Since Newtown, more than two dozen states have expanded the right to carry into previously unknown places: bars, churches, schools, college campuses, and so on. The most ambitious of these laws was adopted in Georgia in April 2014. Among other provisions, it allowed guns to be carried into airports right up to the federal TSA checkpoint.
Even more radical bills are in progress everywhere, too many to tally. Here’s just one example: Nevada, site of this week’s deadly massacre, took up in 2015 a law that would authorize gun owners to kill people they caught trying to steal their cars or motorbikes.
So it’s not at all true that “nothing changes.” In fact, a remarkable research paper published in 2016 by Harvard’s Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin found that between 1989 and 2014, the most probable policy response to a mass shooting was a loosening of gun laws.
A mass shooting increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75 percent in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.
Welcome to Arkansas. Since the Newton (and all the other mass shootings), Arkansas has expanded the places to which guns may be carried to include college dorm rooms, bars, courthouses and the state Capitol itself (though the secretary of state’s secret security plan may provide some as-yet-known protections to prevent people with guns in the galleries looking down on the Senate and House.)
Some Democrats are trying to open the current legislative budget session up to a bill to keep concealed weapons out of dorm rooms, at least, but the NRA has declared that’s a no-go. An article in the Democrat-Gazette today indicates that Gov. Asa Hutchinson seems hopeful to keep guns off the budget session agenda. The Senate’s primary gun zealot, Sen. Trent Garner, seems willing to wait until a special session, if some rule-making can provide relief in the meanwhile, for his amendment to the guns-everywhere bill to allow gun permit instructors to choose not to offer training for the enhanced concealed carry permit. You might have to travel a few more miles to find a willing instructor. But permits are already being issued. College kids, you might ask your roommate if they’re packing.
More gun safety law in Arkansas? Not if Trent Garner has anything to say about it. To him and others in the thrall of the NRA, only more guns make you safer. The statistics aren’t encouraging. We’ve had more school gun shootings in 2018 then the rest of the world has had in a couple of decades. And the U.S., with about 4 percent of the world population, holds about half the world’s supply of civilian-owned guns. Feeling safe yet?
Do the 17 dead in Florida matter? Not to the NRA or the Republican-controlled Arkansas legislature if a response includes sensible gun safety law.
For the fact-based universe: Gun control saves lives.