In the wake of the Aurora murders, I’ve heard many people argue that the types of guns the shooter had didn’t matter, that he would have killed lots of people regardless. Ed at Gin and Tacos squashes that canard (boldface mine):
The most baffling part about the logic of the NRA-led response is that it is based on a premise that is ignored as soon as it is established. The argument is that guns don’t kill people – unhinged or evil people do. OK. Let’s accept that premise in full. Why, then, does the NRA fight so hard to make it easier for evil or unhinged people to have access to things like high powered ammunition and large magazines? If the world is full of the scary people they blame for gun crime, these things only serve to make them more efficient killers. We are told that people like the Columbine killers were so full of hatred and violence that if they had no guns they would have used other weapons…and then we are not allowed to point out that they wouldn’t have managed to kill a dozen people with a knife. The AR-15 with a 30-round clip didn’t make the guy in Aurora, Colorado a killer. It just ensured that he would be really good at it. Change the elements in the equation – weaker ammunition, smaller magazines, a less powerful rifle – and there are fewer casualties. Period.
Why this is controversial escapes me. Yes, we will never be able to stop everyone who wants to kill from doing so–although Ed’s suggestion that “Congress should pass a law that anyone in the U.S., resident or otherwise, can present himself at any hospital, religious institution, or police/fire department and request immediate inpatient psychiatric care at no cost and with legal protection against job loss for missed time”–is a good one if we really don’t want to limit access to powerful weapons.
What we can do, however, is make it more difficult for those who want to commit murder to do so. It would save lives.