The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy
There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Our estimates suggest that the per-death impact of mass shootings on bills introduced is about 80 times as large as the impact of individual gun homicides in non-mass shooting incidents. Third, when looking at enacted laws, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. A mass shooting increases the number of enacted laws that loosen gun restrictions by 75% in states with Republican controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature.
I found this difficult to believe. Didn’t the elementary school shooting in Stockton California enable passage of the “assault weapon” ban in California? Didn’t the Newton Connecticut school shooting result in more restrictive laws in New York, Connecticut and Colorado?
I didn’t duplicate their math but I read their process details fairly closely. It sounds like they did a good job of accounting for various factors and categorization of legislative action and every other variable I could think of (and some I didn’t think of).
The bottom line appears to be that those increasing of firearms restrictions due to the mass shooting events I think of are statistical noise. This is interesting and timely because one hypothesis of the most recent mass shooting in Las Vegas is as follows:
It has been said that ‘the medium is the message’.
In this case that is the literal truth. There is only one plausible motive for what this man did. And here it is:
This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled. On that hypothesis everything now makes sense. And it must be said his concept has a certain demented genius.
Because even if the public learns and believes that his motive was all about ‘guns’ the horror of the act itself – an act to protest such acts – is in some ways even worse for being plain evidence that there is no limit to the insanity to which guns can be put.
Also note that nearly all mass shooters are inclined to be Democrats. Most are way around the bend nuts, but was part of their nuttiness that they were trying to convey their message that guns were too dangerous for private citizens to have “because look at what I did?” If so, then widespread knowledge that gun laws tend to be relaxed as a result of mass shootings may tend to reduce the frequency of mass shootings.
Perhaps the end result works out because every time there is a mass or other high profile shooting, the progressive gun controllers absolutely lose their mental continence, and the backlash moves the needle the other way with legislatures not dominated by fellow-traveller progressives.
“This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled. On that hypothesis everything now makes sense. And it must be said his concept has a certain demented genius.”
I agree. That is exactly what I’ve defined before as a “made-to-order” event, and for saying it I’ve been accused of being, essentially, a conspiracy nut, and encouraged to shut up for the sake of the cause, because crazy talk like that doesn’t help.
No, Young Grasshopper; a “conspiracy” (though I use the word “allegiance” to indicate a common emotional bond) needn’t involve any face-to-face meetings in smoke-filled rooms full of Illuminati, in secret locations, or any specific orders to the soon-to-be perpetrator.
The perpetrator isn’t “self radicalized” though either, nor is he exactly a “lone wolf”. Rather, because of his emotional bond he receives hints and suggestions through the culture and media of his chosen alliance. He’s emotionally tuned into the frustrations he senses from the authoritarians (you all know what I mean) who want a certain outcome. The alliance (of evil) wants enough fear, confusion, hate, chaos and horror to shock the public into accepting more restrictions on freedom and liberty. That goes hand-in-hand with the seduction and false promise of a society in which suffering has all been overcome via coercive redistribution, and having the “smart people” calling all the shots. Just like a budding jihadist, the future perp knows what to do without receiving any “marching orders or even any direct communications whatever. The authoritarian playbook is short and simple, and it never really changes significantly. The bully on the elementary school playground understands it well.
I just heard a great quote from Dennis Prager today (I paraphrase, but this is very close);
“As nature abhors a vacuum, so does the agitated mind abhor peace.”
He went on to point out that the classic vision of the American Dream, the nice house with the nice yard and the picket fence, with a family with 2.4 children and a dog, which some of us would see as a vision of peace, is to the left an intolerable provocation. I would say that it drives them crazy, but they’re already there hence the negative reaction. To the left, America is such a crap-hole that anyone “complacent” enough to live in peace is obviously stupid, blind or evil, and must be “awakened” out of their complacency (made to become agitated). That’s another, closely related component to all this.
Rudyard Kipling spelled out most of this rather brilliantly back in 1919 in his poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings
“This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled.”
How about the hard, irrefutable evidence that monopolies on deadly force (usually by governments) are an evil and must be avoided by protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms? How many hundreds of millions of dead are enough for THAT conclusion to be drawn?
“But Lyle, you’re crazy– The American government simply isn’t going to start rounding up people and putting them into political prisons! Stop being melodramatic!”
Really? They’re already talking about arresting climate change deniers, they’ve already been known to use the IRS as a weapon against political opponents, they’ve already built the most extensive surveillance network in world history, and I could cite several other indicators that you might not have so much cause for faith in your assertion. Also you may be suffering from the phenomenon of “Normalcy Bias”.
Would your confidence in the statement “It could never happen here” be so great if the general population were effectively disarmed?
I submit to you that, to the extent to which you are correct in saying “It couldn’t happen here”, it is because we are a relatively well-armed society. So you can thank a gun owner for your confidence. Also you might want to study up on “Normalcy Bias”.
That we haven’t been rounded up as political prisoners (but several have been killed nonetheless) for my entire 59 year life is not proof that it couldn’t happen some time later. Quite to the contrary, it has happened, and is happening, in several other countries, and therefore the default expectation would be that indeed it could happen here. The claim therefore, that it could NOT happen here is an extraordinary one, requiring extraordinary proof.
I often run across progressives who purport to believe that there is no way our nation could ever descend into an authoritarian tyranny. Like our brand of humanity is somehow ‘better’.
Mostly they simply refuse to respond and cease the conversation when shown examples of other relatively peaceful nations who were taken over by corrupted – or perhaps more precisely, evil – people who ‘legally’ disarmed, then slaughtered those ‘others’ who were their political opposition (or simply hated for ..reasons).
Either they are ignorant of history, they actually are that stupid or, deep down inside, they want it and want to be at the railhead with a clipboard, a truncheon and a platoon or two of armed guards
Not all that long ago, I ceased being ‘generous’ and stopped attributing ignorance or stupidity to their motivation. I am of the belief that the loss of demoncrap power during Obama’s narcissistic administration, and then the defeat of Hillary! so mentally unhinged them that they are losing volitional control of their ability to censor their speech and writing.
We’re seeing the truth of leftist progressivism.
But that’s just me.
I buy into the “medium is the message” idea.
It wasn’t “demented genius”. It was pragmatism, which is the primary political philosophy of the left.
It’s simple math, and the left sees people primarily as numbers. The shooter was an accountant, after all.
To kill dozens, to bring about legislative and cultural changes that might someday save thousands.
Never mind that those changes might bring about the deaths of thousands, or even millions. That would just be ” bad luck”. The left never accepts blame for its failures, or that no matter how many bodies they stack up to stand on, utopia remains always just out of reach.
One argument for the “medium is the message” notion is the choice of weaponry — in many ways. Firearms rather than an airplane. Bump stock rather than aimed fire. Two dozen weapons.
It’s possible that all these choices are the mark of a mental defective. It’s also possible they are not.