It used to be that mass shootings prompted calls for gun control and disappointment when, despite the fact that the we had ample evidence of the damage of large gun magazines that have no plausible role in hunting, or the gun show loophole, or any other part of our laws that make it easier for people who want to kill to get the tools to do it, nothing happened. Now, when someone goes to a movie theater, or a school, or a Sikh Gurdwara, and commits murder, we talk about the fact that we can’t even have a conversation about reasonable, sensible limits on the sale of guns and ammunition. It certainly seemed like we’d followed that pattern after James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58 more in July, after Wade Page murdered six people, and wounded four others before being shot by officers at the scene. But now, Stephen Barton, who was shot in Aurora, is appearing in an ad pegged to the presidential debates asking voters to demand gun control plans of the candidates:
Whether it has an impact or not is an open question. But I think there’s something important about Barton’s decision to speak out. In our gun control debate, responsible legal gun owners (of which there are many) are granted much more authority and credibility than the victims of gun violence. It would be nice to see that balance restored, and to require opponents of gun control to explain why their need for certain magazines, for speed in purchasing, for any number of other restrictions they object to, outweighs the possibility of the great harm those weapons can do.