The latest news on the shooting in nearby Webster, NY is that the Bushmaster assault rifle he used to kill and wound firemen was purchased by his 24 year-old former neighbor at a Gander Mountain store. This fact, and the fact that Spengler, as a convicted felon, lost his right to own a gun legally, have both received comments in some conservative blogs to the effect of “there’s no point in regulating guns because Spengler was already subject to gun control”.
People who believe that other unsafe things in our society–like cars–can be made safer stop believing in anything when guns are mentioned. When someone is killed in a car equipped with airbags, or seat belts, the response isn’t “regulation is pointless, just give up, waaah”. Instead, we’ve built better cars, better highways and we’ve added more regulation to cover drivers. Our drunk driving laws are constantly getting stricter, but funerals of kids killed by drunk drivers aren’t accompanied by Jack Daniels’ prime lobbying group questioning the point of drunk driving regulation. But if someone is killed by a gun that shouldn’t have been owned under our weak gun laws, all we hear is how a single failure justifies giving up on any kind of regulation whatsoever.