Once again in the wake of a mass shooting—this time at an outlet mall in the suburban community of Allen, Texas—President Joe Biden has rushed to demand action from Congress in the form of a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and according to Business Insider, the president also wants Capitol Hill to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
Biden further wants a law requiring so-called “safe storage” of firearms.
But it is not clear whether any of these measures would have prevented the Saturday rampage, which was brought to a halt by a police officer who was at Allen Premium Outlets on another matter when the shooting erupted. The officer fatally shot the suspect, identified as Mauricio Martinez Garcia, 33. He was reportedly armed with a semiautomatic rifle.
There was no small irony in the president’s prepared statement in which he said, “Jill and I are praying for their families and for others critically injured, and we are grateful to the first responders who acted quickly and courageously to save lives.”
At the same time, according to Business Insider, he was calling out Republicans “for sending ‘thoughts and prayers’” in the aftermath of the shooting.
And in the midst of this unfolding story, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms took issue Monday with the gun prohibition movement by pointing fingers at an “assault weapon” nobody wants to ban, yet has been used to kill a lot of people all over the world.
It’s not a gun, and instead of ammunition, it uses an internal combustion engine, the group said.
“When it comes to mayhem,” CCRKBA said in a news release, “this one has quite a body count to its credit, including eight people killed Sunday at a bus stop in Brownsville, Texas.”
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb ran down a short list of mass murders in recent history, all involving people who drove into crowds deliberately. This sort of attack may not be as sensational as a mass shooting, but as Gottlieb pointed out, “The victims are just as dead.”
A man identified as George Alvarez drove a motor vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians outside a migrant center in Brownsville Sunday, killing eight and injuring ten other people, say published reports. The suspect has been charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.”
“Brownsville was just the latest outrage which proves people intent on mass murder and mayhem don’t always use firearms,” Gottlieb stated, “but in none of these cases has anyone ever tried to blame, and then ban, motor vehicles.”
The veteran gun rights advocate noted other cases of mass murder in which the perpetrator was held responsible, not the instrument he used. Cars have never been demonized by the media the same way guns have.
“Remember the six people murdered by Darrell E. Brooks when he drove an SUV through the annual Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 2021,” Gottlieb noted. “Sixty-two other people were injured in that rampage.
“Eight people were killed on a New York City bike path in 2017 when an Islamic extremist deliberately ran them down with a rented pickup truck,” he continued. “The driver was punished, not every truck owner in America.
“Who can forget the 2016 mass murder in Nice, France when a man drove a large truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day,” Gottlieb recalled. “He killed 84 people and injured hundreds more.”
Gottlieb believes it is significant that the Brownsville suspect was charged with assault “with a deadly weapon.” This puts the vehicle in the same class as the semiautomatic rifle allegedly used by a gunman who killed eight people at a shopping mall in a Dallas suburb Saturday.
“The double standard at work here is staggering, and it underscores what we’ve been saying all along,” Gottlieb observed. “It’s not the tool, but the person using it. Penalizing people who didn’t commit any crime, and banning guns that weren’t involved might be good for a headline, but it doesn’t accomplish anything.”
According to Politico, Biden vowed he would sign new gun control legislation immediately if Congress would pass it, but the likelihood of gun ban legislation is remote. As the article noted, “Numerous gun control measures have repeatedly stalled in Congress in recent decades, though legislation was approved in June 2022 and signed by Biden that was intended to keep guns out of the hands of people experiencing mental health crises.”
The gunman killed eight people and wounded others, according to published reports. No motive has yet been established, but the shooting provided Biden and other gun control proponents to renew their demands for stricter gun control laws.
But writing at Reason, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum observed, “Assault weapon” bans, which typically cover specific models along with features such as adjustable stocks, pistol grips, flash suppressors, and barrel shrouds, have always been logically dubious. And under the constitutional test that the Supreme Court recently established, they look more legally vulnerable than ever.”
Sullum referred to a ruling by a federal judge in Illinois that went against that state’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.” U.S. District Judge Stephen P. McGlynn granted a preliminary injunction against the law, in an action brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition.
However, McGlynn’s order was reversed by Appellate Judge Frank Easterbrook at the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.