Discuss effectiveness

A 33-year-old Southern California man’s murderous rampage Wednesday was a reminder of the futility of relying on gun control laws to curb violence. He used knives to kill four people in Santa Ana and Garden Grove.

After the man was apprehended, one police official described him as “full of anger.” His motives were “robbery, hate, homicide,” the officer added.

In the wake of mass murders in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, both state and federal legislators are being urged to enact new limits on gun ownership. Both those atrocities were carried out by men with rifles. One was shot dead by Dayton police, the other was arrested.

Whether new gun control laws will do any good is questionable. Criminals will always find ways to acquire firearms. The mentally unhinged will always find ways to kill people.

Great Britain has exceedingly tough controls on firearms — and, for that matter, knives. But in that country, a wave of homicides — many committed with knives — is occurring. During a 12-month period in 2017-18, 285 homicides in England were by knife. During the year ending in March 2018, police in London alone investigated 40,147 crimes in which knives or other bladed weapons were used.

We Americans tend to hope our elected officials can find easy, simplistic answers to our problems. Bans on “assault weapons” have been suggested as what some demagogues view as a cure-all for mass murder.

It would be no such thing.

Debating whether new gun restrictions should be established often revolves around constitutionality. Perhaps effectiveness ought to be discussed, too.


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