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Shooting back at the 'We've done nothing about guns' myth

President Obama says America should be "ashamed" that nothing has been done to keep guns from the wrong hands, but is he wrong about that?
President Obama says America should be "ashamed" that nothing has been done to keep guns from the wrong hands, but is he wrong about that?
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

As the drama unfolded in Troutdale yesterday following the fatal shooting at Reynolds High School, President Barack Obama was telling a reporter of his frustration that this country has essentially done nothing to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and today gun rights activists are calling him out.

Almost simultaneously, a curious journalist named Charles Johnson was debunking the claim by Moms Demand Action’s Shannon Watts and Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety that there have been “at least 74 school shootings” since Sandy Hook in December 2012. That claim is bogus, according to The Blaze, because it includes off-campus shootings and one incident that may have been self-defense.

The recent incident at Santa Barbara was initially reported as a “school shooting” because the victims were students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, although the crimes did not happen on campus. Also, three of the six victims were stabbed to death, a fact now disappearing into the fog of gun control rhetoric.

But has America actually “done nothing” as is so often claimed by gun prohibitionists? Not so, say activists, and there is plenty of evidence to back up that argument.

In 1993, the Clinton administration pushed through the Brady Law, which included federal background checks and the creation of the National Instant Check System (NICS). Over the years, the anti-gun Brady Campaign has boasted of all the denials resulting from NICS system checks.

The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1994 made it illegal to carry guns onto school campuses. This law did not prevent the tragedies at Columbine (Colorado), Thurston (Oregon), Pearl (Mississippi), Foss (Washington), Red Lake (Minnesota) or yesterday’s shooting at Reynolds. Nor did gun prohibitions prevent attacks at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois and last week at Seattle Pacific University.

California has adopted one of the strongest gun control agendas in the country, with “universal background checks,” waiting periods and one-gun-a-month restrictions and a handgun roster that prevents some pistols from being sold in the state. None of those measures prevented Elliot Rodger from legally buying three handguns and launching his narcissism-fueled rampage in Isla Vista.

Following Sandy Hook, lawmakers in Connecticut, New York and Colorado passed new gun restrictions, ignoring the fact that the Newtown gunman would not have been stopped by any of the new laws, as he was not stopped by any of the existing laws. Adam Lanza murdered his mother, stole her guns and went on his killing spree.

Accused Batman Massacre gunman James Holmes passed background checks in Colorado. Convicted Seattle Jewish Federation gunman Naveed Haq passed background checks in Washington. Slain Washington, D.C. Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis passed a background check in Virginia, as have other killers including those at Fort Hood and Tucson.

Yesterday’s Blaze published several Twitter messages from journalist Johnson that specifically identify “fake” school shootings on the list published by the Everytown group. The list includes an off-campus gang-related incident in North Carolina, an attempted suicide in Cincinnati, a domestic violence slaying in Tennessee two weeks before school started, and more suicides in Maine, Texas and Iowa.

Yet President Obama maintained yesterday that his “biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage.” Would that include not keeping guns out of the hands of Mexican drug cartels, courtesy of the Obama-Holder Justice Department and Operation Fast and Furious, some gun owners wonder?

America, gun owners say, has taken more than just “basic steps” pressed by the gun prohibition lobby as “sensible and reasonable…gun reforms.” Those “reforms,” invariably passed as “gun safety” (rather than “gun control”) measures have not lived up to their promise, but they have further eroded gun rights in this country for law-abiding citizens. Yet the president and the gun prohibition lobby perpetuate the myth that nothing has been done, activists contend.

Rather than pass more laws, several Seattle Times readers have suggested today that we enforce laws already on the books. Instead of further penalizing innocent gun owners, punish the guilty criminals who don’t commit suicide at the end of their acts, which now seems to be something of a ritual.

If someone is considered too dangerous to own a firearm, that person should be incarcerated or institutionalized, many suggest. If someone wantonly commits a heinous crime with a firearm, justice should be swift.