By Tom Quiner
A mentally ill young man walked into a grade school and began to mow down kids.
This happened nearly three years ago. Since then, we’ve witnessed a shift in public sentiments regarding gun rights vs. gun control. At the time of the shooting, more people favored gun control than gun rights 51% to 45%. The numbers have flip-flopped since with gun rights winning 52% to 46%.
Democratic candidates for president sparred over the issue Monday night. Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley beat up on Bernie Sander’s more conservative view of the issue:
“All the shouting in the world is not going to do what all of us want and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns. We can raise our voices, but I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not. Our job is to bring people together around strong, commonsense gun legislation. I think there is a vast majority in this country who want to do the right thing, and I intend to lead the country in bringing our people together.”
Public sentiments have shifted against gun control for several reasons. In most of the recent mass shootings, there is an understanding that nothing would have changed even if the laws proposed by the Left had been in effect.
There is also the awareness that lives could have been saved had someone on the scene had a weapon to disable the attacker.
Even more, empirical evidence doesn’t support the contention that gun control laws reduce violent crime.
Bernie Sanders’ suggestion that we need to keep weapons out of the hands of unstable people is a good one. But how do you do it?
Privacy laws regarding medical records make it difficult to identify the mentally ill who wish to purchase guns.
Back in the 70s, liberal groups like the ACLU worked hard to make it difficult to commit the mentally ill to facilities where they could receive treatment. As a result, our homeless population swelled as the mentally ill were expelled from mental health facilities. Thousands of the mentally ill ended up on the streets.
This is not an indictment of the ACLU, but rather an acknowledgement of the challenge we face keeping weapons out of the hands of people who may hurt themselves or others.
Here is our gun reality: more people prefer the right to defend themselves than anytime in recent history.