If the threat of ISIS death-squads is real, then it is the wrong time for gun controls in the US

There is a renewed rhetoric in favour of gun controls after the California rampage, just as there is after every mass killing, but which never leads to any action. I am always amazed that Barack Obama, who is so fond of executive actions in other areas where he is opposed by Congress, has been so ineffective in implementing any actions to reduce the access to what are essentially military weapons. But this rhetoric may be misplaced if the killings were by what now looks to have been a husband-wife death squad, operating fairly autonomously(?),  but for ISIS, and possibly led by the wife, who was indoctrinated mainly in Saudi Arabia and Multan. A lot of ifs and buts in that sentence, of course.

It has been the contention of the gun lobby that the citizenry having guns is a deterrent to such massacres and they have pointed to statistics showing that more of these mass killings take place in gun-free zones. The argument seems disingenuous in that not having availability to guns would probably avoid many of these incidents from taking place. There is some truth, I think, in the argument that once an incident has started, the magnitude of the incident can be limited by some of the intended victims being armed and capable of resisting.

Gun controls then ought to reduce the number of incidents but once an incident is underway, then the scope of the incident can be limited by the intended victims having the possibility to resist.

But if this incident turns out to be a terrorist action by a kill-squad, then it would not have been avoided by having gun controls in place. And if some of the victims had been armed maybe the death toll would not have been as high as it was. If this death-squad was just one of many such and the next incident could come at any time, 2 things follow:

  1. The death squads will most likely attack in gun-free zones, and
  2. An armed person is safer in the event of a random attack than an unarmed one.

I think the US now faces this dilemma. Introducing gun controls should reduce the number of the conventional, single perpetrator, mass-killing events which have become almost a “usual” and – on average – daily occurrence. However, gun controls cannot prevent terrorist squads from arming themselves and gun-free zones will be more attractive for a terrorist attack. And if an incident cannot be prevented, then it is safer for people to be armed.

Without any terrorist threat I think the value of restrictions on access to, at least, automatic weapons seems obvious and there would be no serious argument against gun controls. However, if a threat of terrorist death-squads suddenly popping up for a rampage is real, then it would be quite the wrong time to prevent potential victims from being armed.

It is a Bermuda triangle for policy; between a rock, a hard place and the devil.

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One Response to “If the threat of ISIS death-squads is real, then it is the wrong time for gun controls in the US”

  1. vonleonhardt2 Says:

    I live in San Bernardino and own guns, but there is already no way for the intended victims to be armed in this state besides a folding pocket knife.

    Open carry, illegal with bullets on your person. Concield carry? Only legal if you are rich enough, the sheriff personally decides and only for their county, with no quidelines… but generally stalking, real gang threats, deivebuys, etc. are NOT acceptable reasons, carrying money, VIP protection, or politician are. When Feinstein OUTLAWED guns in San Francisco, the only concealed carry permits were hers and her friends (was a big scandle).

    Really, we can only hunt here. And even that has a bunch of rules if you just use a bow and arrow for transporting, etc. It pains me to say it, but with the current rules a full ban is safer in CA.

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