Gun-Control Demagogy

By:  Sheldon Richman
Gun-Control Demagogy

Demagogues offend us because they try to bypass our rational faculty with appeals to gut emotion. That pretty well sums up what gun controllers have done since the Newtown tragedy.

Note how politicians, led by President Obama, and organizations pushing new restrictions on gun ownership — which would not have prevented the massacre — shamelessly exploit the relatives of the murdered children and adults. Decent people of course have nothing but sympathy for those who lost loved ones, so the architects of the antigun campaign hope that feeling will supplant critical thinking about gun control.

Yet being the victim of a shooting does not make one an authority on public policy or morality. It bestows no special knowledge about how to prevent future shootings. Every proposal is subject to anyone’s rational scrutiny.

If shooting victims had special insight about what to do, we’d be in a logical mess. What if one survivor called for gun control and another one opposed it? How could we decide?

On October 16, 1991, Suzanna Gratia Hupp joined her parents for lunch at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. She usually carried a concealed handgun in her purse, but that day she left it in her car; she didn’t want to risk losing her new chiropractor’s license for violating Texas’s prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon. Unfortunately, that was also the day that George Hennard drove his pickup through the restaurant window and opened fire on the patrons. Hupp and her parents, like others, took cover under their table. With Hennard the only person standing, Hupp saw she had a clear shot at the killer, and she reached for her pistol — but it wasn’t in her purse. Her father tried to rush Hennard and was shot dead. Her mother ran to her husband and was killed. Twenty-one others were murdered, and 27 were wounded.

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