Study shooter, but don’t disarm society

The recent mass murder in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was more bloody proof that Americans need to do more to curb such violence. It also indicates why more gun control laws are attractive to some politicians but futile in achieving the desired result.

Hours after emailing his supervisor a resignation notice, a Virginia Beach municipal employee entered a city-owned building and killed 11 men and women. Another was shot to death outside. The death toll would have been higher had four police officers not risked their own lives to stop the attacker. One of the officers was wounded.

Officials have revealed that the attacker was armed with two legally purchased .45-caliber automatic pistols. At least one of them had a noise suppressor, or silencer. Both may have had extended magazines allowing the guns to be fired longer before being reloaded. No doubt the gun control crowd will focus on that, once again demanding bans on high-capacity magazines for both pistols and rifles. Perhaps they will add suppressors to their ban list.

There should be no doubt that while the extended magazines made the killer more formidable, he would have launched his murderous spree even without them.

But more gun control laws are easier reactions to mass violence than tackling the cause: mental illness. And it appears there were no indicators the Virginia Beach killer was unbalanced, though clearly, he was. By definition, something went badly wrong in the killer’s mind. Finding out what it was — and applying lessons learned to other potential mass murderers — will be difficult, but it is worth it.

The other thing that must always be remembered is that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. There are those who will say, “Well then, just ban guns.” In which case only the bad guys will have them. So how does that help?

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