Myth 3: Enforcing Existing Laws Would Eliminate the Problem of Gun Violence

Existing laws on the purchase of guns will not eliminate gun violence. The Las Vegas shooter purchased his arsenal legally. The devices he used to transform his weapons to automatic were legal. It is legal to purchase assault weapons. The NRA has argued for decades that not enforcing existing laws is the real problem, then lobbied to defund enforcement of the laws. For example, the funding to establish a database on people with convictions for violent crimes has never been adequate. The loophole to allow purchases of guns at gun shows without a background check still exists. Second- and third-hand sales of privately owned weapons without any background check (or even documentation) still exists. In other words, the argument of the NRA on enforcing existing laws is cynical.

The reality is that the country is flooded with guns of every type, making it virtually impossible to enforce existing laws on gun ownership. There is another less visible force at play in this regard. Since the end of WWII the “industrial-military complex” has controlled a significant share of our economy. The so-called “masters of war” have flooded the world and the country with weapons because there is a profit to be made. Since the Viet Nam War, waging war has become a permanent, structural element driving our economy. Non-ending wars have been the result and until we disentangle our economy from war, easy access to guns will remain an essential part of our lives. This is one reason why the defense budget for the development and purchase of new weapons always increases. Congress even funds purchases of weapon systems that our own military doesn’t need or want.

There is no economic incentive to restrict gun ownership, and that may be the fundamental reason why we are incapable of stopping mass shootings, or any form of gun violence. In this sense, the argument that violence is the basic problem does resonate. For us to accept the fact that making violent deaths easier and more efficient is necessary for our economic prosperity is reflecting a form of violent character that is both lethal and immoral. Building weapons is more important to our society than building roads, and that is a moral sickness of our national character. It is the reason why we are more likely to allow children to bear arms in schools before we outlaw weapons in schools. The NRA simply is a tool that the real masters use to justify their existence, and normalize the madness.

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