Department of huh?

[Megan]  What is with all the editorials about gun control laws in the wake of the VT shootings?  At least an outright ban on handguns might theoretically have prevented this, though it seems at least equally likely to have encouraged him to use a hunting rifle.  But most of the editorials are calling for things like a renewal of the assault weapons ban, which would have done nothing to prevent the VT shooter from obtaining the handguns he used to commit the crime.

Then there is this piece from Slate, which points out the non-sequitur, only to add one of its own:

The most sweeping and controversial bill currently before Congress, however, proves only that federal lawmakers engage in gun policy to further their self-interest, not to solve problems. The bill, HR 1022, would renew and strengthen the assault-weapons ban, which Congress allowed to expire in September 2004. Like its predecessor, HR 1022 is a great political tool for both sides, but would have very little practical effect. Assault weapons may be photogenic, but they're used in only a small fraction of violent crimes. (The Virginia Tech shooter apparently used two handguns, which neither ban would cover.) Furthermore, loopholes in the assault weapons ban allowed for open and legal sale of all banned guns and paraphernalia. These bans distract us from the smarter legal steps we should be taking.

Those steps are . . . requiring private sellers to perform background checks on the guns they sell, which also wouldn't have prevented this crime, since the shooter passed his background check.

Why don't we just pass a law requiring gun shops to paint their storefronts in festive colours, perhaps those of the American flag?  I mean, that would do every bit as good a job of not stopping the recent tragedy, while at the same time beautifying America's commercial districts.