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Makes No Sense, But it Feels Good

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 8
4/19/2013


By Taylor Ramsey

Problem solving. Suppose a group of people have two issues affecting them in a negative manner. Problem #1 is responsible for .02% of their problems. Problem #2 can be attributed to .98% of their negative results. Now suppose the leader of the group decides to place the majority of the group’s efforts and resources into solving Problem #1. Does that make sense? Not to me.

Assault weapons have accounted for only 2% of gun violence, yet many of our elected officials are struggling to ban them. Efforts by Senator Diane Feinstein to ban assault rifles and President Obama’s struggle to create even stricter gun control laws are presented to us with good intentions. Who would not want to take steps to prevent the terrible incidents such as the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown Connecticut, the Aurora Colorado movie theater attack and others that seem to come out of nowhere and end in death and sorrow?

No matter the good intentions of our elected representatives, their efforts are purely “feel good” proposals that would have had no impact whatsoever on the incidents mentioned above. Again, it looks to me as if the well-intentioned representatives are in denial regarding facts and they are wasting time, energy and resources based on pure emotion.

In 2009, FBI background checks increased by 30% and sales of firearms in large retail stores increased by almost 40 percent. Applications for concealed carry permits increased in the U.S. as well. Yet, murders as a result of the use of firearms have decreased over the same period by 14%. In other words, according to the FBI, gun sales have been increasing, while over the last four years, gun crimes are decreasing.

Yes, gun crime is decreasing in the United States, and since the states of Florida and Texas created “right to carry” laws, their murder rate has been lower than before their laws took effect. When Washington D.C. had a handgun ban and trigger lock law the murder rate was 73% higher. At the same time the U.S. murder rate was 11% lower. Murders increased in Chicago by 40% after the city created their handgun ban. The murder rate in England and Wales was 52% higher after establishing their 1968 gun control laws. It increased 15% after they began their handgun ban in 1997.

I am wondering why we do not simply do a better job of enforcing our current laws. In 2010, the FBI processed over 6 million “transfer” of guns checks. Of those 6 million applications they denied 72,659 requests. There were 34,459 denials for “felony convictions/indictments” and 13,862 were denied, listing “fugitive” as the reason. Those two reasons represent 48,231 of the 72,659 denials, yet the government had only 44 prosecutions which is less than 1% of the denials! Do you really believe more “feel good” laws will be enforced? History indicates the new laws will not be applied as proposed.

The assault ban lasting about 10 years in the 1990s made no difference in statistics. The strict gun laws in Connecticut did nothing to prevent the mayhem in Newtown. Think back to the terri-ble shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others who were shot at nearly point blank range. Do you really trust that the person bent on committing that heinous act considered whether the laws allowed him to carry a gun?

Gun violence has nothing to do with whether we are allowed to own a gun. It has everything to do with people making decisions. Think about it. It is quite foolish to allow only law-breakers to have guns. If a person is denied a gun permit due to being a past felon or having a mental issue, do you really think that person would not be able to obtain a gun? If you do, you are naive or in denial.

There is certainly no way we can restrict a person from taking possession of a firearm if they so desire. Assuming all these laws being debated were passed, we should all acknowledge that anyone who wants to obtain a gun illegally can and will do it. There are bad guys amongst us.

We must praise the NRA. The NRA promotes the education of all gun owners to use their guns in a legal, responsible and safe manner. I doubt the guy using a gun to rob a bank is paying dues to the NRA and adhering to the NRA’s code of conduct.

President Obama and those in his camp regarding the gun debate, please stop with the “feel good” stuff. Think it through. History and data will tell you your efforts are a waste of time.
taylor@longbeachcomber.com

Taylor’s Blog: www.lettertotheeditorblog.com
Twitter: @TaylorPRamsey