The PJ Tatler

Obama's Simple, Cynical Guns Calculus

President Obama flew out to Minnesota today to make another pitch for more gun control. He could govern and produce a budget plan for the first time in years; he chooses to campaign instead. He wants “universal” background checks, along with a few other things. He wants to limit magazine capacity. He again deployed the flawed logic that “if it saves one life,” then we must act. If it saves one life, we should go about banning cars, peanuts, water, electricity, and sitting around. All of those things can kill you. None of the president’s proposals would have prevented the Newtown massacre, except increasing security in schools, which he has cut funding for but now supports. It’s the NRA’s position. The mainstream media never challenges him on the fact that his own ideas would do nothing about mass killings.

The Newtown killer used legal firearms to perpetrate mass murder on defenseless adults and children. His act was evil.

According to reports about the killer, he was a heavy first-person shooter video game player. According to reports, when he went about his shooting spree, he used a tactic that is typical of first-person shooter players. He would fire a few shots from his magazine, eject, and pop a fresh magazine into his gun. He did this several times, never emptying a single magazine. First-person shooter players do this to take advantage of the brief pauses between action in the game. This way they’re less likely to run out of rounds at a time not of their choosing. It’s not real life, so they don’t have to worry about carrying around scores of half-empty magazines or wasting hundreds of rounds by never firing them at all. It’s a game strategy, not a real-life strategy.

That being the case, then why are President Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others focusing on the weapon and its magazine capacity? Why are they not focusing on the games through which the killer learned how to snap fire at multiple moving targets, and through which he learned this strategy of reloading without emptying his magazines?

Obama’s calculus is very simple. Going after gun rights weakens the citizen’s power in the face of overgrown government. It also weakens the citizen in the face of anarchy, which creates calls to make the government even more powerful to counter crime. If Obama can win this fight, it would also weaken a major opponent, the NRA, and would weaken the right to bear arms, which despite being a constitutionally-guaranteed right, is predominantly supported on the political right.

If Obama were to go after the video games industry, though, he would be going after the entertainment industry. They’re his supporters. He won’t go after them. He may mention them in passing, but his real target is firearms, the firearms industry, and firearms owners.

It’s all political, in other words, and has nothing to do with preventing another tragedy, and even less to do with anyone’s safety. Gun violence is down, except in Chicago, where gun control and gangland violence are mixing to produce a toxic cocktail. Despite the shootings that have dominated the headlines, we don’t need a ban on firearms. The last ban was ineffective. The proposed ban goes too far, and would necessitate a national gun database to track every single firearm in the United States.

Like nearly everything else this president does, he gun control proposals are ultimately about power. He knows the limits placed on his office by the Constitution, but he rejects them and spends his time devising ways to get around or roll over them.