DUFF HALE: Tragedy in Las Vegas

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As expected, after some deranged individual killed 59 and injured more than 500 people attending a country western concert in Las Vegas the usual suspects have begun politicizing the gun control issue.

Caleb Keeter, guitarist for the Josh Abbott Band, which was on stage when Stephen Paddock started shooting, came out with the announcement he’d changed his mind about guns. “I’ve been a proponent of the Second Amendment my whole life. Until the events of last night,” Keeter said in a statement. “I cannot express how wrong I was. …Enough is enough. …We need gun control RIGHT NOW.”

His knee-jerk reaction is probably the same as many after the horrific shootings and is typical of how little thought most people put into this issue before running their mouths.

Keeter doesn’t say what sort of “gun control” he supports even though there are no new laws that would have prevented this tragedy.

Of course, CBS’s resident late night worthless dingbat, Stephen Colbert, had to put in his two cent’s worth saying “anything” is better than nothing when it comes to gun control.

Then there is the cacophony of Democrats spouting off their usual rhetoric blaming everyone for it. Many are saying the National Rifle Association and Republicans in Congress have blood on their hands for this shooting because they have blocked previous gun control efforts, laws that even if they were on the books would most certainly have done nothing to prevent the Las Vegas rampage.

Instead of offering emotional responses and name-calling these people should have given the public some pertinent facts that would help inform the debate.

So, here are my suggestions:

1. More gun laws do not equate to fewer homicides or mass shootings in spite of gun control advocates claims there is a direct correlation between state gun-control laws and related fatalities. Those numbers include suicides and new gun-control laws aren’t likely to impact suicides. A look at homicides presents no clear correlation with any state gun laws.

Maryland had a homicide rate of 6.1 per 100,000 population in 2014 in spite of some tough gun laws. Gunaphobic California and gun permissive Texas had the exact same homicide rates.

Strangely enough, there seems to be an inverse correlation between gun homicides and the number of guns per person. The number of guns per person had risen more than 50% since 1994 but over those same years gun-related homicides fell by 49%.

What’s more, of the 18 mass shootings that have taken place since 2011, only five took place in states getting an “F” rating from the Law Center (http://gunlawscorecard.org/), and two of those were committed by Islamic terrorists. However, five mass shootings took place in states with an “A” rating for gun control, and seven took place in states with a “C” rating. Another one took place in Washington, D.C.

2. Attacks on the NRA are dishonest. As usual, after a mass shooting, the NRA is being vilified for using its political muscle to block more gun control laws. Typical comments run like this: “For most hill Republicans, bucking the NRA is unfathomable. The powerful gun lobby spent more than $52 million backing candidates for the 2016 cycle alone.” Or as late-night comedian (?) Jimmy Kimmel put it, Republicans “should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”

Compared to labor unions the NRA is a two-bit piker. In the 2016 election labor unions outspent the NRA by more than 3 to 1. Last year the National Association of Realtors spent twice as much lobbying Congress than all gun groups combined.

The NRA is effective because there are millions of gun owners who are passionate about defending their Second Amendment rights not to mention the fact the gun lobby is one of the few genuinely grass roots groups in Washington.

So, in fact, attacks on the NRA are nothing more than veiled attacks on law-abiding gun owners. I tell people that Teddy Kennedy’s car has killed more people than my guns.

There are already hundreds of gun control laws on the books. Face it, there are by one count more than 270 federal laws plus countless state laws covering gun sales and gun ownership. Until the facts are known about how Paddock amassed his arsenal and what, if anything, could have been done to prevent the crime, any talk of more gun laws is ridiculous.

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