The Daily Beast has not failed to let a crisis go to waste. The news website gave prime placement today to a fierce anti-gun rights activist, Cliff Schecter, who was aggressive in mocking supporters of the Second Amendment in response to the fatal shooting spree outside UC Santa Barbara by Elliot Rodger. Schecter, from the National Gun Victims Action Council, scolded gun-rights advocates for their opposition to further gun control measures in a piece that was dripping with condescension.
The article mocked conservatives for endorsing the idea that people–not guns–kill people. Schecter argued that liberal gun laws are ineffective because surrounding states have comparatively weaker laws. Nevermind that Rodger legally obtained his guns from licensed gun dealers within the state of California, a relatively restrictive state when it comes to gun rights.
Another favorite conservative retort to calls for stricter gun regulation has been to point to California's “liberal” gun laws, which supposedly didn’t help Santa Barbara at all. However, the fact that the shooter possessed only 10-bullet magazines and no assault weapon—or what he could legally buy—clearly did help. As terrible as this was, it could have been much worse if the gun fetishists had their way, and any manner of weapon or magazine was for sale.
That a hostile anti-gun rights advocate like Schecter is the editorial selection of the Daily Beast is quite revealing. Is there an alternative opinion from a pro-gun rights group to counter Mr. Schecter’s argument? Nope. Is this much of a surprise? Not at all.
The Daily Beast’s editors are free, of course, to select whoever they like to fill their opinion pages. However, they are barely attempting to hide their desire to exploit this tragedy for the political purpose of pushing nationwide gun-control legislation.
Indeed, even the title is exploitative in nature. “How the Gun Nuts Try to Excuse Away the Santa Barbara Slaughter–And Why They’re All Wrong” suggests somehow that gun rights supporters are trying to excuse away murder. This is a straw man argument if there ever was one.
No pro-gun individual is trying to excuse away murder; they are trying to counter the notion that the debate on gun control should be a one-sided surrender to anti-gun rights groups who exploit raw emotion after a tragedy.
Whether Schecter or the Daily Beast editors came up with this title, the intention is clear; in the wake of this tragedy, there are the good guys–gun control fanatics–and the bad guys. And if you are a bad guy, you are not only wrong, you are trying to excuse away murder.
Schecter went on to claim, “I know this is a tough concept to understand, but we have these territories separated only by an imaginary boundary known as states.” He seems to be arguing, without realizing the irony, of course that bad people will find a way to get a gun somehow, if they are determined enough to do so.
This point is interesting, because it is the same point conservatives make in advocating against gun control. Whether you are buying guns legally or illegally, in a red state or a blue state, it is simply not that difficult to obtain a firearm. And, as long as there are over 300 million guns in this country, that will not change. What’s more, criminals will always find ways to steal weapons from armed police officers or to steal weapons from evidence lockers and police armories with the assistance of corrupt cops.
Schecter went on to compare the United States’s record on gun violence to countries like Great Britain. This claim is the best of the bunch; it is a well established fact that the violent crime rate in Great Britain is higher than in the United States. But not in his wildest dreams could someone commit a violent act without the use of a firearm! It may be an inconvenient truth to Mr. Schecter, but violence comes in many different forms.
Further, studies have repeatedly shown that concealed carry laws have reduced levels of violent crime in the United States. A Harvard study showed conclusively not only that there is no correlation between gun control and rates of murder and suicide, but a negative correlation, meaning that as gun ownership rates increased, the rate of murder and suicide declined.
Despite the fact that Mr. Schecter and the Daily Beast try valiantly to spin the data in order to achieve their ultimate goal of disarming the populace, a preponderance of the evidence has a distinctly pro-gun bias.