People arguing about the effectiveness of gun control today ask this: If California has one of the toughest gun control policies in the U.S., what about the debacle at San Bernardino? Isn't this evidence that controlling guns will help lower rates of mass killings?
Not really. The better question is, among the 50 states, do mass killings occur mostly in states without gun control laws? You cannot generalize from one state or one instance alone, but we can ask: where and in what states do mass murders occur? Do state policies have anything to do with preventing mass gun violence? Mother Jones is trying to answer this question.
I'm not sure there is good data about state gun laws and mass murder but it does seem important to compare state gun control legislation and rates of mass murders. This should get us to the point of asking the right question. Which states have the lower rates of gun violence and do state gun-control policies seem related to the results? The answer will lie in comparative rates of mass violence. Hopefully we can get some clues there as to what works and what doesn't. Sadly, we are beginning to have enough of these heinous events to make valid judgements.
And how is it that a single gun store sold so much to this couple and no one raised a flag? Do gun shop owners at least have a moral if not legal obligation to report suspicious gun purchases in large quantities?