By Patrick J. Brosnan

The recent slaughter of nine students in Oregon has once again, brought public mass murders and the individuals who perpetrate them to the forefront of public debate.  Prior to1966 when Charles Whitman climbed a tower at the University of Texas and killed 16 people, instances of mass murder in a public space were virtually unheard of; however, since then, these senseless shootings have been on the rise in the United States. The Congressional Research Service released a report this year that charted an increase in these shootings since 1966, from an average of one per year in the 1970’s to four in the 2000s and a slight uptick in the last few years.

Who are these madmen who would kill complete strangers, in public spaces, for no reason?  Not because one of the strangers insulted him; or was responsible for him losing his job; or was trying to rob him.  No, the majority of public mass murderers simply killed strangers because they wanted to and had the means to do so. The weapon of choice has overwhelmingly been firearms; hence, the inflamed and viral rhetoric for gun control from politicians and pundits.  This rhetoric is the most dishonest of all false narratives for one simple reason: gun control laws ONLY control the behavior of legitimate people; people who decide to murder strangers in public spaces, or non-public spaces, do not comply with gun control laws. Ever.

As a former NYPD Robbery/Gun Squad Detective who worked in the South Bronx during the 80’s and 90’s, I can unequivocally state that gun control laws had zero impact on the decision-making process of the 900 criminals I arrested and debriefed. None whatsoever. In fact, I personally removed over 300 illegal handguns from their waistbands during that period and interviewed every single one extensively regarding their acquisition of their weapon.  Not once did they state that a stringent background check or a 72 hour waiting period influenced their decision to acquire a weapon.  Of course not.  They were criminals and bought the guns on a street corner or in a hallway for a few hundred bucks. The argument that criminals or mentally-deranged public mass murderers can be deterred or stopped by stricter gun control laws is a self-serving, ideologically-driven lie.

 The fact is that if the brightest minds in the world wrote the strictest gun control laws conceivable, and they were enforced to the absolute letter of the law, public mass murders would continue to occur. And, quite likely, if history is an indicator, continue to rise.  Individuals who advance this rhetoric, this fairy tale, conveniently ignore one irrefutable fact, one insurmountable reality: there are already 400 million guns in circulation.  That is correct - 400 million guns presently in the hands of the public in America- a percentage of them who are criminals or mentally unstable.  And it is impossible to get all those guns back. The fact is that if not one additional gun was sold in America starting today there would still be several hundred million out there: in homes, cars, pocket books and, often, in the waistbands or holsters of mentally-deranged individuals.  Unless someone invents a machine that can magically make everyone of those guns vanish, then we, as Americans, are stuck with them.

Patrick J. Brosnan is the owner of Brosnan Risk Consultants – a security and investigative firm based in Midtown Manhattan – and a crime analyst for Fox News.

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