Putting words in the mouths of local police officials
As I’ve written on a number of occasions, most newspaper readers read only the headlines and the headline on Tuesday’s front page article tells us:
Wheeling Police: More Gun Restrictions Wouldn’t Have Stopped Las Vegas Massacre
Most of what is in the article is an explanation of the current laws regarding semi-automatic and automatic weapons. The article does not touch on modifications made to existing weapons which can legally turn such weapons into semi-automatic and automatic weapons cheaply.
Finally in the last three paragraphs we get to what our local law enforcement think about whether stronger gun laws would have prevented the attack and Wheeling’s police chief and his assistant are not nearly as certain as the article’s headline would lead you to believe:
Still, Schwertfeger and Kimball are not sure additional gun control can prevent such tragedies.
“I don’t know that it is possible to mitigate something like that,” Schwertfeger said.
“It’s not a gun problem — it’s a societal problem,” Kimball added. “Somehow, this guy learned that using a gun was the way to solve his problems. We have to deal with the reasons people are doing these things.”
Despite what the headline tells us, they don’t know.
Lies and hypocrisy
Tuesday morning’s editorial, “Don’t Look For Easy Answers,” like Monday night’s (see previous post), is aimed at dampening any calls for even the slightest restriction on gun ownership. With no references, the editorial tells us:
But it appears some of the weapons Paddock used were fully automatic — machine guns, in effect. That kind of firearm is illegal for civilian use except in rare, tightly controlled circumstances.
I guess that depends upon your source. Here’s Newsweek:
Nevada has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country, a legislative condition that is sure to come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history on Sunday night in Las Vegas.
Nevada law does not require firearms owners to have licenses or register their weapons, nor does it limit the number of firearms an individual posses. Automatic assault weapons and machine guns are also legal in the state as long as they are registered and possessed in adherence to federal law, according to the National Rifle Association.
And as we learned on Tuesday afternoon, a number of the weapons were legally altered to turn them into automatic weapons. As the Washington Post explains:
Law enforcement officials said Tuesday at least a dozen of the 23 firearms recovered in Las Vegas were semiautomatic rifles legally modified to fire like automatic weapons, using an alteration known as a bump fire stock.
Despite what the locals tell us, Paddock used legal weapons.
The editorial is also concerned about how Paddock obtained the guns:
Past that issue, however, any debate over new gun control laws probably would be unproductive.
(Interesting, I guess this editorial writer didn’t read Monday night’s editorial about how we shouldn’t prematurely reach a conclusion.)
The editorial makes one important exception:
It involves those whose mental illness has made them homicidal. No rational person would argue against keeping firearms out of such hands.
Really? How about this from NBC News last February:
President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.
The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.
Had the rule fully taken effect, the Obama administration predicted it would have added about 75,000 names to that database.
President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead.
The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.
If you research the bill, you will find that it was passed because the NRA pushed it and the Republicans answered. (I wrote about it here because the NRA scared Senator Manchin into supporting it.) And what did the Wheeling “newspapers” in February say about keeping firearms out of the hands of people with severe mental health problems. Nothing.
Thus the locals tell us that the shooter’s guns were illegal (they weren’t) and that rationale people (obviously including themselves) don’t want the mentally ill to have access to guns even though they said nothing when the Republicans and Senator Manchin gave them access back in February.
Yeah, they’re liars and hypocrites.