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The Incompetence of Gun Control

Gun control makes violence worse.

By Will Offensicht  |  December 27, 2012

The shooting of 26 teachers and children as Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, has brought forth the expected deluge of cries that the government should "do something" to "end the slaughter of innocents."

Calling for government action is a liberal reflex no matter what the problem might be.  People seldom stop and think about whether government can actually do something constructive about a problem.

Let's assume that enough children die due to firearms that something ought to be done about it.  Let's ignore the fact that thousands more children die in auto accidents than die in gun-related incidents.   Let's ignore the bigger problem of death by automobile and focus on the lesser, but more spectacular, issue of death by firearm.

The desire to have government "do something" about guns carries the implicit assumption that our government is actually able to do something about guns.  Liberals keep demanding more laws even though it was obvious long ago that existing gun control laws don't work.  When a California nut case shot his mother, her neighbor, and her daughter, the New York Times reported that his name was on a list of people who shouldn't be allowed to buy guns.  Despite this "obstacle," he'd had no trouble passing the required background check and buying a Glock.

It's Not Just California

In the wake of the Connecticut shooting, the Times was honest enough to report that the FBI can't identify people who shouldn't have guns any better than the state of California:

Nearly two decades after lawmakers began requiring background checks for gun buyers, significant gaps in the F.B.I.'s database of criminal and mental health records allow thousands of people to buy firearms every year who should be barred from doing so.  [emphasis added]

...Since 2005, 22,162 firearms - including nearly 3,000 this year - have been bought after the waiting period by people later determined to have been disqualified because of their criminal and mental histories, according to an examination of F.B.I. data.

The Times' Quote of the Day for December 21, 2012, was:

"Until it has all the records of people out there in the country who have been deemed too dangerous to own a firearm, the background check system still looks like Swiss cheese."

-MARK GLAZE, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, on the database used to check gun purchasers.  [emphasis added]

Note the phrase "Illegal Guns."  Mr. Glaze's organization isn't worried about legal firearms because licensed gun owners don't cause enough problems to worry about.  The mayors are concerned with the vast number of illegal guns in circulation, and with stopping people who use otherwise-legal guns without being licensed themselves to do so.

The mayors are right to be concerned about illegal guns.  Even though the background check system has been in place for two decades, it still doesn't work: there are millions upon millions of illegal guns kicking around the country, and many more millions of perfectly legal guns purchased by people with a clean background check who had every right to do so - and yet which were stolen by criminals for use in their criminal pursuits, which is exactly what happened in Sandy Hook.

Once again, we challenge our readers to name a problem, any problem, which has been made less severe by government action in the last 20 years.  If existing gun control laws don't work, why should we believe that any new laws will work any better?

The exact opposite has happened: Existing laws have made the problem of gun violence worse by creating "victim disarmament zones" such as Virginia Tech, the Connecticut school, and any number of shopping malls where unarmed citizens are shot by criminals who know nobody is able to shoot back.

Rather than write yet more laws to disarm the already law-abiding, some states are passing "concealed carry" laws in the hope that armed citizens will be able to stop armed criminals.  On Dec 22, the Times' quote was:

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

-WAYNE LAPIERRE, vice president of the National Rifle Association.

Truer words were never spoken.  The NRA has suggested that the only way to stop school massacres is for police to patrol the schools.  It would be a lot cheaper and much more effective for school employees to take lessons, arm themselves, and be prepared to take action in their own defense.  It doesn't require a degree in criminal justice to know how to return fire against a madman.

That solution isn't acceptable to our ruling elites, of course, because it would solve the problem without requiring new government spending - and because politicians, like all criminals, prefer unarmed victims.

In the meantime, those who give up their right to defend themselves in return for government promises to keep them safe are finding that they have neither freedom nor safety.  The children at Sandy Hook, being children, had that fatally false choice made on their behalf; it's up to us to make sure no more children suffer the same way, with their adult carers left defenseless against an evil predator.