“Mental health is your problem here. This was a very, based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems over a long period of time. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation.”
Those are the words of President Donald Trump after the tragedy in Sunderland Springs in Texas yesterday.
Being a resident of Sweden and an avid hunter and sport shooter since many years I am quite used to the political fuel such heinous acts of violence in the United States as yesterdays shooting spree in Texas turns out to be on this side of the Atlantic. After the horrendous terrorist attack at Bataclan in Paris in late 2015 the European Commission did their out most to solve problems where there weren’t any, namely going after law abiding citizens firearms rather than trying to remedy the actual problems, radicalization, terrorism and the influx of illegal firearms.
President Trump is frequently seen as a dangerous buffoon, not just among many democrats and even some republicans in the US but also here in Europe by most people covering the entire political spectrum. However he is quite right when he sees this mindless brutality that 26 year old Devin Kelley carried out as the effects of a mental issue rather than a gun problem. Devin Kelley had been dishonorably discharged from the Air Force after assaulting his family. He also had a history of using narcotics. This made him void of owning a firearm according to 1968 legislation due to several reasons. A dishonorable discharge from the armed forces means that a person is not eligible to purchase a firearm. Given his history of abuse and use of narcotics this too should make him void as a legal owner of a firearm according to the legislation. Hence stricter gun laws would not have prevented Kelley from carrying out this heinous act of violence.
However the supposedly “liberal” narrative is that gun control, in the sense that law abiding citizens shouldn’t be trusted to own firearms, would remedy such acts of violence in a magic stroke. It is an easy fix that in reality would not have any effect. In fact, it was due to local residents response, citizens issued with CCW permits, that Kelley’s shooting spree was interrupted and put an end to.
It is worth mentioning that Jesse Hughes, front man of Eagles of Death, the band that who’s gig was attacked at Bataclan openly criticized French gun legislation as the terrorists were able to carry out their attack quite undisturbed, an attack that left 90 people dead.
Some of the victims even being decapitated and mutilated in the most gruesome ways, female victims even being victimized sexually. The attack was so heinous in nature that the French authorities tried to keep the most disturbing information from being publicized in the press.
So what can be said about this? Is society really safer due to strict gun control? Sure enough, people like Devin Kelley should not own firearms. But as it turns out he was not allowed to according to the law either. The terrorists at Bataclan on the other hand used illegal firearms. What effect would more restrictions have when these are focused upon millions of law abiding citizens? The public narrative here in Sweden is that there is a leak of legal firearms from hunters and sport shooters and hence the number of firearms in legal hands must be kept down. However there is no unbiased research that supports such claims. This still does not prevent individuals in leading position within the Swedish Police to effectively pursue a political agenda, both when it comes to their management of firearm permits as well as political lobbyists.
There has been cases where legal firearms have been used in high profile crimes in Sweden, for instance in 1994 when an intoxicated officer, Mattias Flink, used his AK5 service rifle in a shooting spree in Falun, killing 7 people and wounding three. Still that firearm was the property of the Swedish state. Another high profile crime was the serial shootings carried out by a racist, Peter Mangs, in Malmö in 2009-2010, using his competition pistol. He had illegally purchased an extra barrel for his Glock pistol so that bullets fired would not be traced back to him. However, even though he did not have a previous criminal record his shooting club found him a suspicious character and some had notified the authorities, however without any effect. Was it then civilian gun ownership that was the problem or the Police that failed to take notice of the heads up they received? The all time high number of killings in today’s Sweden is however due to crime in socially challenged neighborhoods where mostly immigrant groups that have failed to become integrated in Swedish society instead make their living from drug dealing, extortion and similar organized crime. Firearms are plenty, smuggled in predominantly from former war zones in the Balkans, firearms that have never been legally owned in Sweden. And yet the Police and many politicians still go after the firearms held by law abiding citizens?
The majority of murders in the United States are also committed under similar circumstances. Is it then the firearms that constitutes the real issue or is it crime, mental disorders in combination with failed healthcare and sociological reasons in general that are to blame? The latter are much more difficult to deal with. Hence a narrative that problems will go away in a magic stroke by going after the property of society’s most law abiding citizens is a very tempting one for politicians that otherwise fail to present credible answers.
I am not a big fan of President Trump for a number of reasons, but that does not prevent that in this case he’s absolutely correct: “-..this isn’t a gun situation.”