In the wake of the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., politicians and journalists who hate to see guns in the hands of ordinary citizens turned into a raving mob who sensed that victory over their enemies was near.
Reality is now starting to set in. There are several reasons why we probably won't see any new laws and certainly no laws that will prevent school attacks. The first reason is that the American people are now seeing the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the anti-gun lobby.
For years, we have been promised that President Obama and his party would never move against lawful gun owners. Now that he is not facing any more elections, the promise is forgotten. Who doubts that this was the plan all along?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, is about to introduce the most restrictive weapons ban in American history. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has said that confiscation may be an option. New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is apoplectic at the thought of revolting peasants out there he can't control. All of these politicians are protected by armed guards who can use any guns they wish, but they don't think the public merits the same privileges.
In NBC's Washington studio, "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory, while criticizing the National Rifle Association proposal to put armed guards in schools, displayed a 30-round magazine that is prohibited in the District of Columbia. As a member of the media elite, he will never spend a day in jail. It was also revealed that he sends his children to a school that is protected by armed guards. Guns for me, but not for thee.
People are starting to remember that the history of gun control laws is one of utter failure. Ask Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago how his super-strict gun laws are working for him: 506 murders last year, and he is still demanding tougher gun laws.
The federal law that made schools gun-free zones was a proud accomplishment of the anti-gun lobby. Did they know that this would make schools magnets for homicidal lunatics? It seemed like harmless, feel-good legislation at the time, but after seeing how frantically they exploit the deaths of schoolchildren to support their agenda, conspiracy theorists are wondering if it was part of a cynical plan to justify more laws. More likely they were just blinded by faith in their agenda.
Let's imagine that a law banning semi-automatic firearms is enacted. The Supreme Court has said that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms. However, the strange and twisted history of gun control efforts also created another Supreme Court decision called United States v. Miller in 1938. This was seen as a victory for gun control at the time, because it allowed the strict regulation of shotguns and rifles with barrels less than 16 inches long under the theory that they were not suitable for militia service. Guns that were suitable for militia service were fine. Today's so-called "assault" weapons, or what some call "freedom rifles," are perfect examples of guns that are well suited for militia service.
What will happen if new laws are passed and withstand judicial review? The long history of American gun laws gives us a pretty good idea. You can be absolutely certain that none of the new laws would have stopped the Connecticut school attack. In fact, gun law proponents frequently say that this law would not have stopped the tragedy, but it is a step in the right direction. Why then are they using that particular attack to promote their law?
We also know gun laws are always written by people who hate guns. Ironically, they are the ones who know the least about guns, so there will be many ways around the laws. Only law-abiding citizens will be inconvenienced or have their lives ruined by inadvertent technical violations.
Many gun control laws have been tried in many places over the last few centuries. Aside from those that were obviously intended to disarm minorities prior to a campaign of genocide, none have ever had the desired effect.
The American people are not stupid. Even a furious campaign of emotional fireworks will not persuade the majority to support futile and counterproductive new laws.
Dr. Michael S. Brown, a radiologist, is a member of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership.