On Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Tuesday night, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer offered a proposition that could offer legislators in Washington, D.C. the chance to avoid a kneejerk reaction to last week’s shooting in Newton, C.T.
Krauthammer’s hypothetical committee apparently would be different from the task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden in that it would be fashioned much like the 2002 9/11 Commission, which both then-President George W. Bush and Congress had a hand in establishing.
“There are people who want to use this as a partisan advantage or to scapegoat the NRA or to win over one side in this argument,” Krauthammer said. “I think one way to get around that in the passion of the moment is to do what Joe Lieberman suggested. To appoint a commission — this is not to put it off indefinitely — we had a commission after 9-11 because there is going to be a rush to judgment on this. I think it’s likely that we’re going to pass weapons laws that will be completely useless and I think it would be far better to appoint a commission to report in three months, six months, maybe Lieberman, maybe Giuliani to head it and to report and to look not just at guns, which is the only place where liberals want to look, but to look at the other two elements of any mass shooting.”
According to Krauthammer, the gun issue isn’t the only facet of the crime that the commission should examine.
“There is the shooter, there is the gun and the environment,” Krauthammer said. “And we’re talking about the commitment laws for the dangerously mentally ill, which are extremely lax in the United States of America. And although it would not probably have affected what happened in Connecticut, it would surely have affected what happened in Tucson where the guy was obviously a danger. Everybody knew he was. And the only way you could stop him, the only way you could incarcerate him is after he killed.’
“And the third element is the culture, the violence,” he continued. “In the movies, in the video games where without a doubt children are desensitized to violence. It’s either glorified or trivialized to a point that is truly shocking. And if you have a kid looking at a screen who is already sort of living in an internal world where you mow down people for entertainment on the screen, no pain, no consequences, it’s not surprising they would imitate that.”
As for the current legislation set to be offered by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, which would renew the 1994 assault weapon ban that expired in 2004, Krauthammer said there was no measurable evidence that legislation did anything of merit to decrease gun violence.
“Look, in 1994, I supported the ban on assault weapons and the same column in which I supported it I predicted it would have zero effect,” he said. “Well, we’ve had studies about what effect it had. It was in force for ten years, so it’s a very good experiment in time. It had no effect on the level of homicide. It had no effect on the lethality and the injurious nature of gun homicide — of violence. And we know that to be a fact.”
“So it is not — so it isn’t as if we are realizing here from nothing,” Krauthammer continued. “We’ve done this and it didn’t have an effect. And the main reason is that there is so many loopholes. If you look at the Feinstein law, the one she is now proposing to reintroduce, she exempts 900 kinds of weapons. The loopholes here are so enormous that it will have no appreciable effect on the homicide rate.”