There is a difference between laws designed to regulate availability of material goods and laws designed to punish human beings.
Exactly. Politicians just love that former category, precisely because it never works. It never works and never solves the problem, so there is always a menacing problem they can promise to do something about the next time they campaign. It also has the side-effect of requiring a police state to have even a slight hope of enforcement, which again is great from the perspective of most politicians.
Politicians know the War on Drugs doesn't stop people from acquiring drugs. They know that mass shootings overwhelmingly tend to happen in "gun free" zones. They know even an outright ban on guns doesn't stop criminals from acquiring them. They know someone not afraid of a murder charge isn't going to be deterred by a weapons violation. They probably know that the USA has one of the highest murder rates of the industralized world
They are interested in perpetuating the problems. It's what wins elections. It's what makes people increasingly feel they need government intervention. It's fun to think of them as a bunch of morons who couldn't find their ass in the dark, but this is called allowing sentiment to interfere with judgment.