As rational political leaders propose reasonable gun-control legislation after the latest in our daily diet of mass shootings, we will hear what we always hear from NRA types whose prefrontal cortices have been jerked into neutral by their primitive lizard brains: we don’t need that change because it wouldn’t have prevented the last shooting.
This argument misses the obvious point that proposals for future changes in the law, although often born of ills that have already accrued, are never designed to prevent ills that have already accrued. It seems fair enough to credit those who seek to engender better outcomes from now on with the discernment to get that one cannot enjoin what has already happened.
The ammosexuals who fetishize cold steel are often the same set that tends toward extremism as to abortion. Funny that they never apply this new-law-won’t-solve-the-last-problem “logic” to abortion, too. I’ve yet to hear an anti-choice activist suggest that we ought not impose a 72-hour waiting period before a woman wanting an abortion may get one on the ground that a 72-hour waiting period wouldn’t have stopped the last abortion. And in this, the anti-choice teabagger would be on solid logical ground: the point isn’t to stop the last abortion, but to make future abortions more difficult to obtain.
But never fans of reasoning, Baggers won’t understand the application of the same principle when sane lawmakers propose that we make it illegal for a person on a terror-suspect no-fly list to purchase a firearm. Baggers will say that the San Bernardino killers weren’t on the no-fly list, so we shouldn’t target those who are: “Why pass a law,” they will ask, “that wouldn’t have stopped the shooting?” In this, they will obliviously confess not to grasp that the new proposal is meant to stop those who are on the no-fly list from perpetrating the next terrorist shooting, not the last one.