In order to see new gun control laws as an appropriate response to the Las Vegas tragedy, one must assume the truth of several extremely tenuous claims, the most general being that such new laws would have any real impact on the ability of potential malefactors like the Vegas gunman to carry out their crimes. Available evidence gives us virtually no reason to believe that they would. To begin with, the most popular of gun control proposals do not target the kinds of behaviors that actually give rise to most gun violence.

Many recent mass shooters obtain their guns legally, after careful background checks of just the kind gun control advocates hope to extend. Would-be shooters who could not pass such a check will continue to avail themselves of one of the millions of firearms currently floating around the United States. If one is determined to kill, he’ll find a firearm (or other implement of death) rather easy to find.

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