How could this happen? How is one lone wolf able to kill fifty people so quickly? AR-15 rifles are not hunting rifles. They’re military rifles. They put out thirty rounds in less than a minute. They’re easy to get, they’re easy to get, they’re easy to get. And easy to shoot. And easy to reload. The Orlando shooter used the same 1950s military rifle that the Newton shooter did; that the 2012 theatre shooter did; that the San Bernardino shooter did.
What about Islam? Yes, Islamic fundamentalism is a serious global problem. It’s a threat to rational, moderate people everywhere–including rational, moderate Muslims. It’s not just the kufar (outsiders, infidels) who are under threat from Islamic terrorism, but moderate Muslims who are considered by their fundamentalist and radicalized counterparts to be not Muslim at all. So there’s no doubt that Islamic fundamentalism needs to be resisted everywhere. But it’s also the lack of sensible gun control laws in the United States that makes mass shootings possible again and again. It keeps happening, in part, because there is not simply motive, but opportunity.
Motive and opportunity. The Republican-controlled Congress could begin to shut this down tomorrow with gun control legislation, and President Obama would obviously sign it, but instead they’re focused on only one side of the opportunity equation: new immigration from Muslim countries, and locking down the southern border (rationalized in part as keeping international terrorists from sneaking in). So on the opportunity side of the equation, there’s a spigot issue: Democrats want to stop the flow of armament trafficking and Republicans want to stop the flow of immigration. But what about the motive side? If a person gets radicalized by religion or politics, or wants to commit a mass hate crime, or is unhinged psychologically, there’s just not much that can be done. An individual’s motives are an individual’s motives. But, at minimum, you can make it difficult for a person with a motive to kill to get hands on military assault rifles.