One of the most overused and ineffective arguments against increased gun control in the United States goes something like this: "making guns illegal will do nothing to hinder these mass shootings because those people are criminals and criminals use, and will continue to use, illegal guns no matter what."
The "logic" here being that the crazy people who commit these crimes aren't playing by our rules anyway so we might as well keep legal guns in the hands of rational people who can stop the crazies from being so crazy.
The book Holes has fewer holes in it than that argument (and that book really, really likes holes). The most glaring of which is the notion that illegal guns in the hands of criminals are the ones we should be afraid of.
The New York Times published a story on Thursday that outlines where 14 of the most prolific mass shooting perpetrators obtained their firearms. And guess what? They all got their guns legally after following the flimsy procedures that many still believe are sufficient to keep guns out of the hands of killers.
Here are just a few of the most striking things their research uncovered.
Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik
The suspects in Wednesday's San Bernardino, California shooting that claimed 14 lives purchased their two assault rifles and two handguns legally from a store called Annie's Get Your Gun in Corona, California.
This man killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon with six guns he purchased from legal firearms dealers. Investigators later uncovered that Harper-Mercer had eight other legal weapons in his possession as well.
Wong killed 13 people with 98 bullets when he opened fire with two handguns inside a Brooklyn, New York civic association.
Wong bought the first gun with no problems. When he went to purchase the second his background check stalled but he still got the gun because of a ruling that allows for gun shoppers to obtain their firearm if the background check program does not come to a result within three days.
Jared L. Loughner
Loughner killed six people at a Democratic political rally for Gabriel Giffords. Loughner was expelled from his community college due to the faculties concerns that he was a danger to other students.
Unfortunately, incidents like these don't show up on background checks and Loughner was able to buy a legal weapon with no problem.
One L. Gough
Gough opened fire with an automatic pistol at a small religious college in Oakland, California. He killed seven people. He passed his background check for a gun with no problem.
During his trial, he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic by two separate psychiatric evaluations.
This country is not doing enough to protect its citizens from the murderous whims of killers like these people.
While politicians argue the semantics of a 200-year-old document people are dying, families are being ripped apart, and bright futures are being snuffed out to nothingness.
It's not terribly complicated. There is obviously a problem. The only question is who is going to fix it?
Banner Image Credit: M&R Glasgow on Flickr