10 months, 2 weeks ago
The New Yorker in a piece on The Tsarnaevs and Their Guns:
At nineteen years old, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wasn’t old enough to legally own most guns. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, at twenty-six, was, but he reportedly didn’t hold the permit that Massachusetts requires of gun owners. But according to published reports, there were at least four on the scene in Watertown: an M4 carbine rifle, which is, the Times notes, “similar to ones used by American forces in Afghanistan,” along with two handguns and a BB gun (the only one that Dzhokhar could have legally owned). If nothing else, these facts ensure that the Tsarnaevs’ names won’t just come up in relation to the discussion about immigration reform that is taking place in Washington right now, but in the ongoing debate about gun control as well.
Some on the right have already begun arguing that the fact that the Tsarnaevs apparently owned their guns illegally is evidence that gun laws simply don’t work. “Since they didn’t obey the laws already on the books, maybe more laws for them to ignore would have helped,” Doug Powers wrote for Michelle Malkin’s Web site. “Maybe a separate law with slightly different wording that had ‘seriously, pay attention to this one – we’re not kidding’ written in bold would have gotten their attention.” Many other conservative bloggers have expressed similar sentiments over the past day.
Similarly, for supporters of gun control, it is a simple matter to ask if tighter laws, like those the Senate rejected last week, might stop people like the Tsarnaev brothers from buying guns in the future.
The problem is that we don’t yet know how the Tsarnaevs got their guns.
That the Tsarnaevs had guns doesn’t “prove” that criminals disobey the law and that guns laws don’t work. We knew that anyway. Violation of laws is a function of the fact that someone is a criminal. Furthermore, the problem isn’t that the author of this petty piece doesn’t know “how the Tsarnaevs got their guns.” He doesn’t know this information any more than he knows my favorite color or what I ate for lunch today, and none of it is any of his business.
The real problem is the way this article has been framed, and the stated assumption that any of this has a part in the “ongoing debate about gun control.” That they had guns may be analogous to the fact that they may have had parking tickets, but it just isn’t related to the use of bombs to kill and maim innocent people. Only the left could turn this event on its head like this, and rather than debating and discussing the religious motivations for the action, debate how inanimate objects sitting in their clauset at home should affect the rest of us because of something completely unrelated to those objects.