At The Federalist: Do Gun-Control Groups Care What Really Causes Mass Shootings? Everytown Lawsuit Says No

Aug 25, 2023 | op-ed

Dr. John Lott has a new op-ed at The Federalist on the lawsuit filed by Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown.

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The lessons from the Buffalo shooting are right in the killer’s manifesto, but gun-control groups like Everytown don’t care.

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The Biden administration has already put nearly 2,000 gun sellers out of business in just two years. Just a few years ago, a lawsuit helped drive the 200-year-old Remington Arms into bankruptcy. But activists won’t stop suing gun shops and anyone else that comes close to the industry.

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Last week, attorneys from Everytown Law, the legal arm of Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety, filed a lawsuit against a shop that sold the gun used in the fatal shooting of 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in May 2022. The murderer is a racist who specifically targeted racial minorities. Everytown claims the attack “could have been prevented,” but in fact, the gun seller performed all of the proper background checks. 

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Others are also being sued, including the 18-year-old murderer’s parents and social media companies that allegedly “transformed and addicted” the murderer by allowing extremist content on their sites.

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But the lessons from this shooting, like many other mass public shootings, are hiding in plain sight. One needs only to read the killer’s manifesto. 

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“Areas where CCW [carrying a concealed weapon] are outlawed or prohibited may be good areas of attack,” wrote the shooter. “Areas with strict gun laws are also great places of attack.”

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But Everytown ignores those quotes. Nor does the organization mention that the Buffalo mass murderer self-identified as an “eco-fascist national socialist” and a member of the “mild-moderate authoritarian left.” The shooter expressed concern that minority immigrants have too many children and will damage the environment. “The invaders are the ones overpopulating the world,” he wrote. “Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment.”

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The murderer argued that capitalists are destroying the environment and are at the root of much of the problem. “The trade of goods is to be discouraged at all costs,” he insisted.

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Overpopulation, business-hating, and the environment are hardly signature conservative issues. It’s certainly not something you’ll hear from any of the Republican presidential candidates. And while some Republicans believe in limiting international trade, it’s not for environmental reasons.

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So who is to blame for radicalizing this murderer? The media and politicians warning of a climate crisis deserve some blame for the killer’s “eco-fascism.” Indeed, climate activists argue time and again that overpopulation is part of the problem. “It does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in 2019. That same year she also warned that the “world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

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Nor does President Biden help matters when he tells the nation that the environment “poses an existential threat to our lives. … This is code red.”

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If Everytown wants to sue Big Tech outlets for radicalizing this mass murderer, maybe it should sue them for running “extremist content” from AOC, Biden, and various environmentalists.

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Psychiatrists had previously evaluated the shooter without finding him to be a danger to himself or others — which is nothing unusual. Half of the mass public shooters since 1998 had seen mental health professionals. But if trained mental health professionals couldn’t realize this man was so dangerous, it’s hard to blame the parents. It certainly doesn’t make sense to sue them.

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Unfortunately, lawsuits, such as this one by interest groups like Everytown, are more interested in punishing people they oppose or causing others to change their behavior in desired ways than seeking the truth. With billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s deep pockets, Everytown does not worry about funding its lawsuits. The same can’t be said for their targets, such as a small gun store. Social media companies aren’t going to be bankrupted by the lawsuits, but they may be even more likely to censor material that gun-control groups such as Everytown dislike.

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The killer wasn’t born an eco-fascist. For the sake of our society’s health and safety, we should be thinking twice before engaging in hyperbolic alarmism that can work impressionable young people into a frenzy, though lawsuits when we disagree with people isn’t the obvious answer. And when someone does go crazy, people need to be able to defend themselves. It’s either that or we could give in to gun-control activists by giving shooters more “great places of attack.”

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John R. Lott, Jr., “Do Gun-Control Groups Care What Really Causes Mass Shootings? Everytown Lawsuit Says No,” The Federalist, August 25, 2023.

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