COMMENTARY | On Oct. 12, Scott Dekraai entered a hair salon in Seal Beach, Calif., and opened fire on the people inside. He killed eight people and injured a few others. The motive behind the shooting appears to involve a custody fight with his ex-wife. In any case, this event — while tragic and devastating — should not have any bearing on the gun control debate that has been raging on for years.
Many reactions to this shooting on social media sites erupted into a call for stricter controls on firearms and even body armor. Reports indicated that the suspect was wearing an armored vest during and after the shooting. Unfortunately, all of these calls to action and demands for tighter laws are dumbfounding to say the least. The majority of individuals that reacted to this tragedy with pro-gun control remarks mentioned the same general opinions and evidence.
For starters, many people seem to believe that tighter laws will stop people from using guns to hurt others. They want to restrict the number of gun owners or make it so that fewer individuals can buy guns. These individuals think that more registration steps are needed and whatnot. Without a doubt, that is a bunch of rubbish. Your average firearm owner is a law-abiding citizen that is not going to go out and murder someone else. There are millions of people out there that have one or more firearms, and thousands own body armor, too.
However, the main issue with this whole debate when it comes to California is that the state already has the tightest controls in the country. Extended clips, automatic rifles, and flash hiders are illegal. A person must undergo a background check to purchase any weapon and obtain a concealed carry weapons permit for handguns. In reality, the fact of the matter is that laws do nothing to stop a person from committing murder with a firearm.
For instance, I live in San Diego and could drive to Seal Beach within an hour. I own a firearm and could grab it from where I am sitting. To get said weapon, I had to submit proof of residency, identification, and pay for a background check. Obviously, that took some time (10 days) until I could walk out of the store with my shotgun. It has been years since then and I have not shot a human being yet nor do I plan on it.
Anyone who wants to obtain a firearm in this fine state or any other would not have to go through this process. In fact, they could steal a gun from any legal owner or buy one from someone else. Within a day, anyone – anyone! – could obtain possession of a firearm in some way or another. This could and does happen in every state at one point or another.
Tighter laws mean nothing to a criminal or a desperate person. For some reason, people do not seem to understand that. Individuals that go on these shooting sprees could do it no matter what the law said about guns. The Seal Beach shooting, the Arizona shooting from earlier this year, and all others always bring about the gun control debate. Sure, these situations are tragic, but they lead many people to make misguided calls for reform. Making the law stricter is not the answer.