weather icon Clear

VICTOR JOECKS: A proposal that could actually prevent the next mass shooting

Democrats are once again using mass shootings to push gun control legislation that wouldn’t stop mass shootings.

Earlier this month, deadly shootings devastated El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, and shocked the entire country. Within hours, congressional Democrats were calling for Congress to return from its August recess to pass gun control legislation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that her top priority was expanding background checks.

Earlier this year, the House passed H.R. 8, which would require background checks on private party gun sales. The proposal is so broad it would require a background check if you wanted to sell a gun to your sibling or parent. Firearm sales from a dealer or across state lines already require a background check.

“Mitch McConnell should bring the Senate back into session immediately to pass H.R. 8, the gun safety bill that has already passed the House,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, tweeted. “That’s a first step to addressing our serious gun violence epidemic.”

You’d assume, then, that expanded background checks would have stopped at least one of the recent mass shootings.


“There is no indication that the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, would have been prevented by proposed universal background checks,” a fact check from CNN — yes, that CNN — found. The El Paso shooter bought his firearm legally. CNN found “no evidence that he had a criminal history that a background check would’ve caught.”

Democrats are cynically exploiting a tragedy to push their preferred policy, even though its implementation wouldn’t have prevented either shooting. Aside from proposing to confiscate semi-automatic weapons, it’s hard even to imagine how most current gun control proposals would stop a mass shooting. The much-talked-about assault weapons ban restricts guns based on cosmetic features, not firepower.

So here’s a proposal that could actually prevent mass shootings.

Mandate that every citizen between 30 and 60 learn how to fire and safely handle a firearm, issue them a handgun and require they carry it concealed. Exempt those convicted of a crime or with any history of mental illness. Eliminate gun-free zones, as well. If police catch someone without their firearm, make them shoot 25 rounds at a gun range as their penance.

A common link among mass shooters is that they seek notoriety. If a potential mass shooter shot only a few people before being killed by armed citizens, it would be a local news story. The national press also wouldn’t want to highlight how firearms can stop crimes. This law would make a potential mass murderer less likely to achieve one of his goals — publicity. Without an assurance of publicity, some potential mass shooters might decide not to start shooting at all.

To be clear, this is only a theoretical exercise. A legal mandate to carry a firearm — or to buy health care — is an abuse of governmental power. But if you want government to do something about mass shootings, make sure your proposed policy will change the thinking of someone who’s already decided to break the law.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.