Simple: they’re not.
After a mass shooting, gun controllers push the policies they’ve always supported as if they were a logical response to that particular example of senseless violence. When skeptics say it is hard to see how the proposed measures could have prevented that attack, gun controllers (if they are honest) say that’s beside the point, because the real goal is not preventing the rare mass shootings that get all the attention but curtailing more common forms of gun violence. If so, the horrible event that supposedly makes new legislation urgently necessary does not in fact strengthen the case for that legislation one iota. If the proposed policy was a good idea before the attack, it remains a good idea; if it was a bad idea, the emotionally compelling but logically irrelevant deaths of innocents do not make it suddenly sensible.
Oh logic—thy name is not politics.
Speaking of logic: in his recent address on the subject, Obama said, “We don’t benefit from ignorance.” The context in which he used the phrase was his call for more research into the effects of violent video games. But it strikes me as ironic that the left, and Obama, and those who champion more and more and more gun control above and beyond what we already have do benefit from ignorance, as the earlier part of this post demonstrates.
Another interesting irony is that Obama also said, “Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater.” Think about the content of most movies these days: gun violence, combat, and war, anyone? And that’s the least of the sadistic blood and gore we see. Not that gun violence should be banned from movies—but really, the subject matter in which movie theaters deal, and by which they make the bulk of their money (other than popcorn and sex, that is), is guns, designed for the theater of war and otherwise.
And the whole “designed for the theater of war” thing does not necessarily transfer to the actual weapons Obama wants to ban. It gets very technical, and is not my field of expertise, but those of you who know about weapons understand that the terms are meant to appeal to emotion rather than logic, and some involve mere cosmetics (see this and this).
I have no problem with background checks, and certainly no problem with banning fully automatic weapons (done a long, long time ago). I don’t even think it’s so terrible to ban very high capacity magazines, since it’s possible for a hunter or person defending him/herself to reload quite quickly if necessary. Of course, that last part also makes it very possible for a shooter like Adam Lanza to reload, again and again—which by the way he did, despite having high capacity magazines. A bit mysterious, and a reminder that shooters aren’t always logical:
Lanza stopped shooting between 9:46 a.m. and 9:49 a.m., after firing 50 to 100 rounds. He reloaded frequently during the shooting, sometimes firing only fifteen rounds from a thirty round magazine.
In summary, I don’t see how any of Obama’s proposals could have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre, or could prevent murders by a single future mass murderer intent on destruction in an environment such as a gun-free school. An armed guard, or armed teachers? Now, that might have helped, although we can never be sure.