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Don’t buy the ‘futility’ argument

You hear the argument every time a mass shooting massacre triggers calls for more gun control. “Gun control won’t stop mass murder. Maniacs will find a way to get guns illegally.” Or, “If they want to kill someone, they’ll find a way, even without guns.”

This “futility” argument popped up again this week when a 33-year-old Southern California man went on murderous rampage Wednesday. using 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.

We don’t buy that argument.

Yes, homicidal maniacs will find a way to kill, either by stealing guns or buying them on the black market. But must we allow them to legally buy assault-style rifles that are designed to spray out bullets with maximum efficiency, and outfit them with oversized magazines to make their killing more efficient?

Yes, a man like the California knife-wielder will find other kinds of weapons to carry out his violent urges. But again, how many more could he have killed if he had been equipped with an assault-style rifle? Ten? Twenty? More?

We Americans tend to hope our elected officials can find easy, simplistic answers to our problems. There aren’t any easy, simple answers. A ban on assault-style weapons is not a cure-all for mass murder. But it should be a part of the response, along with stronger background checks and more programs to detect and treat mental illness.

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