Appearing on Dana Perino’s new show (The Daily Briefing), Rep. Trey Gowdy was asked about his position on potential new gun legislation. His reply was thoughtful and the last thing Democrats wanted to hear. It started with Perino quoting from Leah Libresco’s op-ed in the Washington Post. Ms. Libresco’s op-ed said “My colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States and I became frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people and the case for the policies that I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence.”

Next, Ms. Perino asked “I think there might be some people who might be persuadable on gun control legislation if there was any way to point to what could’ve been done to prevent this if there was a way to not infringe upon people’s Second Amendment rights. Maybe we would do that. Where do you see the debate on Capitol Hill after this?”

Chairman Gowdy replied “Well, Dana, I think it’s important for your viewers to know that we already have controls on what types of guns you can have and where you can have them, when you can use them and which individuals can even possess a single bullet so the question for me is whether the current controls are adequate and there’s 2 fundamental questions you just put your finger on. What law, had it existed at the time, would’ve prevented this mass killing or another mass killing? What law, but for its lack of implementation, could have prevented this? So that’s one question. The other question I want answered is, among the other panoply of gun laws, how are we doing in enforcing them? It is currently illegal for someone who’s already been adjudicated as being mentally ill to possess a single bullet. But if you look at DOJ’s statistics, you will see very few prosecutions under those laws. So I would ask this Department of Justice the very same questions that I asked of the Department of Justice the last 8 years under President Obama. Before you ask for new tools, convince me that the tools you have now are being fully used and are inadequate. I’ll be open to a piece of legislation that tells me ‘this won’t happen again’ but you’ve got to tell me how you’re using the current gun statutes and I was really underwhelmed at the level of prosecutions the last 8 years.”

Ms. Libresco’s op-ed offers these important insights into the gun control issue:

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

The depraved domestic terrorist that killed 59 and wounded over 500 others was a skilled rifleman. It’s apparent that he’d meticulously pre-planned this attack. I’d be surprised if he hadn’t trained extensively for his killing spree. Nothing about this horrific event sounds like the work of an amateur.

Republicans should tell Democrats the things that Chairman Gowdy told Dana Perino. If they did that, they’d silence the gun control debate in minutes.

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