Advocates for stricter gun laws in America are exasperated, and they want you to know it. The reaction among opinion-makers to the bloodiest single act of mass murder in America’s history evolved from shock and empathy to partisan rancor with rare alacrity. For many, this attack is yet another indication that America’s lax gun laws and its violent culture need to be curbed. But if this were their genuinely urgent mission, you would think they might abandon the tactics that have repeatedly failed to achieve their stated objective. They have not.

The reactions from liberal trendsetters in the first hours of these increasingly frequent mass shootings unfold in stages. Initially, we are privy to displays of cultural hostility that masquerade as exhibitions of policy-oriented seriousness. For example, Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton insisted he would not observe a moment of silence in Congress for the victims in Las Vegas because “it’s a time for action.” What action was delayed by these few seconds of reverence for the dead, Moulton did not say. But he was only emulating Rep. Jackie Speier, who did the same thing for the same reasons in December 2015, following an Islamist terror attack in San Bernardino.

Next, we are bombarded with attacks on the prayerful because—the alleged thinking goes—prayer for victims of violence is another waste of a few private minutes that could be spent crafting and passing new gun legislation. “Thoughts and prayers are insufficient,” the comedian Jimmy Kimmel raved before attacking Republican congressional leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan specifically. “They should be praying,” he added. “They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.”

Kimmel stole Samantha Bee’s act. “The biggest, most helpful thing you can do to ensure this never happens again is [to] sit quietly in a room with your eyes closed, talking to nobody,” Bee said scornfully of Republicans. She joined a cavalcade of stars, Democratic lawmakers, and liberal luminaries who attacked prayer itself as inadequate and the prayerful as dissociative cowards. Ostensibly, this crusade was designed to get people to work together toward a common cause. In reality, it was a display of tribal affinity, and it could only alienate those to whom they were appealing to for action and solidarity.

Next comes the lashing out at the National Rifle Association, which with its 5 million members serves as a relatively toothless stand-in for the staggering 55 million gun owners in America. In this phase, celebrities, polemicist, and rank agitators alike hurl invective at the NRA, declaring it soaked in the blood of innocents for defending the inviolability of the 2nd Amendment. The NRA is said in 2017 to be the main obstacle to new gun laws because they “bankroll a slate of pro-gun candidates,” just as it was said in 2012 that congressional members wouldn’t take controversial votes on gun control for fear of an “NRA backlash.” The influence of this group has almost certainly been overstated. Since 1998, the NRA has donated $3,534,294 to sitting members of Congress. Over nearly two decades, that amounts to approximately $184,000 annually spread out over hundreds of members of Congress. That’s not a bankroll; that’s pocket change.

This spectacle of bitter grief soon gives way to anger. The more honest gun control advocates eschew consensus building at this stage and indulge their wildest fantasies. In a piece dripping with contempt for a nation that allows mass murders to occur, The Atlantic’s James Fallows notes that other “advanced societies” have implemented “gun-law reforms” that have seriously curtailed episodes of mass gun violence. Fallows wrote about “Australia’s response to its Port Arthur massacre” and linked to an earlier piece on the matter, never once mentioning the form Canberra’s “gun-law reforms” took: repossession.

Progressives who are less self-conscious about advocating their brand of enlightened despotism are not so coy about Australia’s post-Port Arthur reforms. Vox.com’s Zack Beauchamp opted to get ahead of “debate about whether it would even be possible for the US to limit its millions of privately held guns” by citing Australia’s reclamation of approximately 650,000 in the 1990s. He conceded, though, that it would be difficult to apply this model to the United States, which is putting it mildly.

First, the efficacy of Australia’s confiscation and buy-back program is debatable (Australia is pursuing another amnesty for gun owners right now despite the illegality of gun ownership). More important, the U.S. is a nation with a right to firearm ownership codified in its Constitution—and with roughly 462 times as many guns in private hands. These two nations have incomparable conditions when it comes to guns and comparing them is not compelling, but that never stopped anyone.

It’s a wonder that Beauchamp and Fallows are reintroducing this argument as though it had not been made over and over again. “We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings,” said Barack Obama two years ago to the day of the Las Vegas massacre. He cited the U.K. and Australia’s examples specifically, but, like Fallows, wasn’t brave enough to elaborate on what that meant. New York Magazine, CNN, NBC, and many others followed Obama’s lead in praising the Australian model. NBC News did so again in 2016, following the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando by a radicalized Islamist terrorist. CNN followed suit on Tuesday. It speaks to the unfeasibility of the gun controller’s case that it is so rare to encounter commentary advocating the only certain and legal way to reduce gun ownership in the United States: “repeal” the Second Amendment.

Finally, some in their frustration are blaming the American public for being such irredeemable disappointments. In a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday, Rep. Steve Israel savaged his fellow congressmen and women for their inaction, but he also took the time to attack “you, the reader.” Because you have “become inoculated” to rote calls for some unspecified action without any plan to build a consensus for change, you have allowed this blood to spill. It takes a special allergy to introspection to make what is admittedly not a unique argument and then blame readers for yawning.  The readership of the New York Times editorial page is surely not unreceptive to Rep. Israel’s suggestion, and it’s hard to imagine they appreciated being scolded.

Mass shootings are on the rise in America. Gun ownership is too, which is due in part to periodic campaigns to limit gun ownership. Democrats have spent so much of their energy focusing on Republican support for gun rights that they have declined to direct their frustrations toward their own side. For example, it wasn’t the GOP that killed a four-month-long push to impose restrictions on magazine sizes and combat-style rifles following the attack in Newtown. Surely, the American left honestly wants to see gun violence in America reduced. But appealing to the same failed tactics over and over suggests that they’re only preening for the advantage of their like-minded audience. The people they need to convince tuned out years ago.

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