Opinion

Biden Misses the Mark

After President Joe Biden returned to the White House from an overseas trip Tuesday night, he addressed the horrible mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday that left 19 elementary school students and two teachers dead.

“I am sick and tired of it,” Biden said from the Roosevelt Room. “We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”

Biden noted that other countries have mental health problems and domestic disputes, “but these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?”

One answer: the Second Amendment.

Biden didn’t have much in particular to say about the killer who robbed these precious children of a future. It’s as if the shooter, whose name will not appear in this column, was beside the point.

The president simply referred to him as “an 18-year-old kid.”

Biden saved his ire for those “who obstruct or delay or block the commonsense gun laws.” Forget the shooter. People who oppose Biden on guns are the bad guys.

We later learned from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that the shooter posted text messages on Facebook that he was going to shoot his grandmother Tuesday morning.

Then, as CNN reported, he texted that he had shot his grandmother in the head. Then he announced, “Ima go shoot up a elementary school.”

Social media platforms have changed how American teens relate to — and dehumanize — others.

Biden’s solution is to confront the enemy, “the gun lobby.”

Biden speaks as though he doesn’t know that the toothpaste is out of the tube. When shootings like this occur and the left calls for more gun regulations, Americans run out and buy more guns and ammo.

“Democrats love to hammer the strawman ‘gun lobby’ because they don’t want to openly attack tens of millions of gun owners,” observed The Federalist’s David Harsanyi.

After a shooter killed five Stockton elementary school students in 1989, California passed an “assault weapons” ban.

I supported the California law and the 1994 federal law. But then it turned out the 1994 federal assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004, didn’t really reduce gun violence.

A 2004 Department of Justice report found that if the 10-year law were to be renewed, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

A 2020 RAND review of gun studies, according to FactCheck.org, found “inconclusive evidence for the effect of assault weapon bans on mass shootings.”

The New York Times reported that the British government banned handguns after a gunman killed 15 students and a teacher in 1996, Australia banned semiautomatic weapons after a massacre in Port Arthur left 35 dead, and New Zealand passed strict gun laws after a gunman killed 51 Muslims in Christchurch two years ago.

That’s not going to happen here.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 5.4 million Americans bought firearms for the first time last year. Clearly these new gun buyers aren’t feeling safer. Maybe Joe Biden should chew on that.

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Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders is a fellow at the Discovery Institute's Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership. Contact her at [email protected]

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