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Government can’t prevent mass shootings

Every mass shooting exposes the impotence of government.

Thursday’s horrific shooting at a Maryland newspaper is no exception. A loon bag had a long-standing grudge against a reporter who no longer worked at The Capital Gazette. The shooter used a legally purchased pump-action shotgun to slaughter five people and wound several others. The carnage likely would have been worse, but police were on the scene within 60 seconds and disrupted the killer.

The police responded with speed and bravery, but it was still a massacre. It’s a reminder of what government can’t do.

The government’s most fundamental job is to secure one’s God-given right to life. At the federal level, that means having an army to defend against foreign enemies. At the local level, that means having a police force to enforce the law. What you see in Maryland and with other mass shootings is that government can’t guarantee your safety.

This is why many law-abiding citizens carry weapons. It helps them defend themselves and their families. Reflexive calls for gun control would hurt those people.

“Without action, thoughts and prayers ring hollow,” tweeted Democrat attorney general candidate Aaron Ford hours after the shooting. “Enough is enough. We must do everything we can to prevent mass shootings.”

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak tweeted, “We need to take meaningful steps to do everything we can to bring an end to these tragedies.”

So what is “everything”? Neither responded to a request for comment. Those who want to do “everything we can to prevent mass shootings” should start by saying what they think should be done.

But this is the bait-and-switch gun-grabbers have been pulling for decades. They’ll imply that opposing gun control means you want innocents to die, and then they’ll push for proposals that wouldn’t have prevented the incident they’re bemoaning. Some of the students from Parkland have dropped the pretense entirely. They now freely accuse their opponents of having blood on their hands.

This shooter used a legally obtained pump-action shotgun. For those unfamiliar with firearms, shotguns aren’t the same as the much-maligned AR-15. Shotgun shells are different than rifle bullets, and those firearms reload in different ways.

Both Ford and Sisolak imply that they want to overturn the Second Amendment and outlaw shotguns and semi-automatic weapons. But even a ban on new weapons would leave hundreds of millions of privately owned weapons. It wouldn’t stop someone from purchasing or stealing a shotgun. That leads you to gun confiscation.

There are lots of practical reasons that gun confiscation won’t reduce crime. The most obvious is that criminals won’t turn in their weapons and will feast on newly disarmed law-abiding victims. But at least calling for full gun confiscation would be an intellectually honest proposal. Destroying every privately owned firearm in America would have prevented the newspaper shooting. Yet Democrats won’t mention gun confiscation, because it’s unpopular.

Democrats such as Ford and Sisolak will do everything they can to stop mass shootings — except mention what they imply is actually needed because it will endanger their electoral prospects.

It’s unfortunate that government can’t prevent mass shootings. The solution, however, isn’t to limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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