I’ve plowed this ground before but I think it’s worthy of another look.

Gun control is a hot topic right now because of recent events and there is lots of talk of new “common sense” gun laws.

But when lawmakers use the phrase “common sense” what they are really saying is politically expedient.

That’s because the laws they talk about enacting will have little or no effect on the problem they’re trying to address.

Lawmakers feel the need to “do something.” So they go for the law-hanging fruit and talk tough to show their constituents that they really mean business when it comes to guns.

To be clear, I am not against enacting some of these laws. It’s just that I know these laws won’t solve anything.

Here’s why.

Take the law proposing universal background checks. Again, for clarity, I am not against that law. I think it would be fine if they passed it.

But the question is, “Will it help eliminate gun violence?”

It may nibble a little around the margins, but that law’s effect on gun violence will be negligible.

That’s because the vast majority of gun violence is attributed to weapons obtained illegally in the first place.

Proponents of the law talk about the awful “gun show loophole.” That’s where you can – reportedly – walk into a gun show and buy a gun no questions asked.

That does, in fact, happen. But I’ve been to a few gun shows and most of them had transfer tables where licensed dealers recorded sales.

Nonetheless, there is a gun show loophole.

But here’s the thing. The FBI released a study in January – ”Sources and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes.”

What they did was took a survey of prison inmates in 2016 and asked them where they got the guns they used in the crimes they committed.

What percentage of crime guns do you suppose came out of gun shows?

You already know, don’t you?

Among state-level prisoners, the rate was 0.8%. For federal prisoners, the rate was 1.4%. Among all prisoners, the rate fell back to 0.8% because there are a lot more state-level prisoners.

So, by all means, eliminate the gun show loophole, but don’t expect it to make any difference in the incidence of violent crime. Fact is, guns bought at gun shows are used in less than 1% of crimes.

The majority of crime guns – 43.2% – were obtained off the street in the underground market. Another 17.4% were found at the location of a crime or bought by somebody else. Guns borrowed from someone or given to the perpetrator as a gift accounted for another 17.3%.

Universal background checks would not have prevented any of those folks from getting their gun.

Ten percent of crime guns were purchased at gun shops or pawn shows where there would already have been a background check.

There is a category – obtained from family or friend – which accounted for 8% of crime-gun possessions.

The background check law might have made a difference there. Of course that assumes the people involved would actually go to a gun shop and make a transfer.

But do you really believe someone who is predisposed to committing a violent crime with a gun is going to be overly concerned about going to a gun shop to get a background check?

No way.

Again, it’s not that I am against background checks. I just know that they won’t make a dent in violent crime, much less in mass shootings, where virtually every gun ever used was obtained legally though a background check.

Banning “assault weapons” also will have a negligible affect on mass shootings and violent crime. That’s because they are used  in such a tiny number of violent crimes despite the fact that there are millions of them on the streets.

Sure, mass shooters give them a bad name. But does anyone believe the guy hellbent on shooting up a Walmart will be thwarted by the lack of an AR-15? He’ll just use a handgun or two or three.

There also has been lots of talk about mental illness.

It would be hard to argue against the notion that anyone who commits mass murder must be mentally ill.

But a June 2018 study of mass shooters over a 13-year period showed the majority of mass shooters:

• do not have a history of mental health issues.

• used legally purchased guns.

• have a history with the site that they attacked.

Among the study’s findings:

The youngest active shooter was 12 and the oldest 88, with an average age of 37.8 years. The sample was overwhelmingly male (94%) compared with only four females (6%).

Active shooters had a limited history of adult convictions for crimes, including violent crime.

Active shooters often attacked people and places with which they were familiar. There was a known connection between the active shooters and the attack site in 73% of the cases, often a workplace or former workplace for those 18 and older and almost always a school or former school for those younger than 18.

Most commonly, the active shooter purchased a firearm or firearms legally and specifically for the purpose of perpetrating the attack.

A very small percentage, only 2%, purchased firearms illegally or stole the firearm. Some borrowed or took the firearm from a person known to them. A significant number of active shooters (35%) already possessed a firearm and did not appear to have obtained it for the express purpose of committing the shooting.

Look, I don’t pretend to have answers here. But it’s easy to see based on research that’s readily available, gun control policies being bandied about today probably won’t achieve their stated goals.

The actions of lawmakers today remind me of a running joke back in college when we were bored sitting around the dorm.

We’d say, “Let’s do something, even if it’s wrong.”