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The outrage over new Texas laws loosening gun control in the wake of a shooting spree that left 7 dead and 22 injured Saturday was immediate, shrill and nearly palpable.
The new laws, passed earlier by Texas lawmakers, went into effect Sunday, as scheduled. They will make it easier for Texans to have guns in schools, places of worship, foster homes where children live and apartments.
While police try to sort out why a man being stopped for a minor traffic violation opened fire on police and then randomly shot others as he fled, the media and anti-gun groups predictably and quickly used the tragedy – and the new laws – to further their gun control agenda.
The problem? At first blush, the new laws, had they been on the books before the shootings, would have had no effect on what happened Saturday. The shootings in Midland and Odessa did not occur in a school, a church, a foster home where children live or an apartment. The myriad gun control laws in effect before Saturday obviously had no effect, either. Nor will they ever.
What anti-gun folks refuse to acknowledge is that criminals and lunatics pay no attention to laws. That is what makes them criminals and lunatics. Laws affect only on the law-abiding.
We readily admit to not knowing how to head off future shootings, but instituting more laws restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans – or blaming laws that give them more freedom – cannot be the answer. The most draconian laws will not make us safe. There is violence, after all, even in the most tightly controlled police states.
The answer lies in somehow identifying and treating those with murderous hearts before they can act while at the same time protecting our hard-won constitutional rights. It will not be easy, but simply screaming at the problem and piling on more ludicrous restrictions – as anti-gun forces are wont to do – will get us nowhere.
This very real problem needs a workable answer.