in 2ndAmendment , 15 references
As a former prosecutor in Washington, D.C., who enforced firearms and ammunition cases while a severe local gun ban was still in effect, I am skeptical of the benefits that many imagine will result from additional gun-control efforts. I dislike guns, but I believe that a nationwide firearms crackdown would place an undue burden on law enforcement and endanger civil liberties while potentially increasing crime.
Yep. And the statistics?
The gun ban had an unintended effect: It emboldened criminals because they knew that law-abiding District residents were unarmed and powerless to defend themselves. Violent crime increased after the law was enacted, with homicides rising to 369 in 1988, from 188 in 1976 when the ban started. By 1993, annual homicides had reached 454.
Remember -- this is the former DC Prosecutor. He saw the crime increase first-hand. He also saw the dilution of police response since they were both chasing phantoms and violating people's civil rights. The people living in DC received a negative outcome from both.
And since Heller, which struck the ban?
Since the gun ban was struck down, murders in the District have steadily gone down, from 186 in 2008 to 88 in 2012, the lowest number since the law was enacted in 1976.
More than a 50% reduction in four years?
My view is that an unalienable right is just that. So-called "background checks" are unlikely to stop an actual criminal from getting a gun and encourage more crime. Believe it or not I'd rather eliminate the Brady Law and indeed the Gun Control Act of 1968 entirely, because it would improve the traceability of firearms and reduce crime overall.
That is, if you're going to murder I'd rather you buy the gun legally (where you get your mug on a security camera along with a recorded serial number in the store's computer) so when you commit a crime with that gun we know where you got it and what the pathway was that it took to get to you. In addition we would eliminate the anciliary crime you commit in stealing the firearm, which could be something so simple as a B&E or something as complex as an additional murder, as was the case at Sandy Hook.
While it sounds insane at first blush if we got rid of the background check and restrictions we would actually reduce crime since most of the stolen guns would no longer be stolen. Further, there are times when someone legitimately discovers a "sudden need" for a gun (e.g. a woman who finds out that "nice guy" she was dating is really a dangerous stalker -- three business days, as is the case here in Florida, is a hell of a long time to wait when you think someone is intending to rape or murder you!)
The counter-argument of course is that felons would be easily able to get guns. But they get them easily now -- they just commit another crime in the process. Further, if you're convicted of a felony and serve your time, including any parole that comes with it, under our system of justice you've "paid your debt to society."
Or so we claim.
Reality is that since felony records are public if you have one you are permanently disabled in earnings capacity and thus will be living in crappier parts of town and making less money forever. That's bad enough. What's worse is that you now get to either choose to commit another felony (owning a gun) or you're a target for every thug who doesn't give a crap about the law and decides to rob you. And just like we've seen in NY, the crooks can and do use those public records to identify "targets" for their violence.
The paradox, therefore, is that our gun laws promote recidivism!
That's backward from what we should be promoting.
Instead, let's look at the facts on the other side of this problem. The jackass who shot two firefighters in NY had previously been convicted of killing his grandmother -- with a hammer. He got his gun through a straw purchaser (who has since been arrested.) The law didn't stop him from getting a gun, just as it didn't stop Lanza.
What would have stopped him is if we never let him out after his first homicide. But we did.
This is similar to a case I wrote about a couple of years ago in Florida where a jackass killed a Marshal who was coming to serve him some papers. He blasted him with a shotgun. Needless to say he didn't buy said shotgun at Cabelas, so our much-vaunted "background check" did nothing.
But this guy was a two time loser, and once his name was out I was easily able to find him through a Department of Corrections search here in Florida -- all public, on The Internet.
He was first arrested for carjacking and did time for it. Then, after being released, he decided that sexual assault was a good idea and was arrested, convicted and imprisoned for that.
We let him out again and this time he shot the Marshal.
Those are two murders that shouldn't have happened as the opportunity should not have existed to commit them. In neither case, just as with Lanza, were laws requiring background checks effective. Nor will they ever be, because a criminal willing to use a gun in the commission of a felony is willing to commit a second felony to acquire the weapon. In the case of someone willing to murder all the other crimes are free since he can only be hanged once.
We also have a serious problem with the mentally ill. Reagan closed most of the State Hospitals and we have since listened to the liberal left that claims that it's "inhumane" to confine people who are seriously mentally ill in some fashion.
The problem with severely crazy people is that if you can control their insanity with meds then they feel fine while taking the meds and thus many of them will decide to stop. Once they get off the meds they're insane and therefore don't realize they need to start taking them. In addition many of these people play the "self-medication" game with alcohol, illegal drugs or they run around from doctor to doctor shopping symptoms until they get something "fun" to add to their daily routine -- at which point they're nuts as well.
This is a one-way trip to Hell and it's a difficult problem -- but one we need to talk about and address.
There is no means to address this other than civil confinement of some sort, since you can't monitor where the pills go if someone is living on their own. The "minimum" might be some sort of group home where compliance with medication can be monitored and so can potential side effects.
The current process of requiring someone to be judicially adjudicated as unfit is a good one; judicial review in an open court is an important guardian against abuse. But what has to go with that is civil confinement, not "simply" firearms disability. The reason is obvious -- again, someone willing to commit a crime of violence, whether insane or not, will also commit whatever other crimes are necessary to obtain the weapons.
We therefore can only hope to control this if those people are under confinement of some sort, and open-court judicial intervention is about all we have that balances civil rights in a reasonably-congruent fashion with public safety, all while respecting The Constitution. It's not illegal to be crazy -- this only rises to the level of intervention if you're dangerous to others, and an open courtroom is the only way we can determine that in a form and fashion that is able to be examined to prevent abuses.
Unfortunately what happens now is that you pretty-much cannot get someone referred into the system and examined on this basis. This problem is not limited to "Blue" states. And the "pill mill" problem which Florida claims to have addressed (among a few other states) has in fact not been addressed at all.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
At the same time we must address psychoactive drugs and their effects on young people. While the incidence of "rage monster" behavior side effects only presents in a tiny percentage of those who use these substances the fact remains that this risk appears to be unique to people under the age of 25 on these drugs.
This is clearly-documented both in the prescribing information and from the history of these offenses stretching back more than two decades!
While mass-shooting offenses are a very small portion of the total number of homicides (under 1%), they are nonetheless something we must explore, understand and put a stop to where we can do so without violating unalienable rights.
Biden and Obama are as I write this standing at the podium with their presser to announce how they wish to attack the Second Amendment, attempting to impose collective punishment upon the innocent because someone else committed a series of serious felonies.
Obama says he wants to take steps "right now."
But notice that there is no talk about the prescription drugs that virtually all of these mass-shooters are on.
Yet that is the singular common thread between all of these incidents.
The premise that "if there is even one life that can be saved we have an obligation to try" is utter crap. I can stop virtually all gun violence tomorrow. You simply need to make me Fuhrer and I will direct the military and police to go into every home every day and stop every walker and car driver, searching you all -- every single day. Damn the Constitution, full speed ahead!
That would be tyranny, and it is exactly the sort of thing that Obama is trying to enact.
As for the "Assault Weapons Ban" perhaps you can tell me why the police need these weapons if they are designed solely to "kill as many people as possible" as Obama asserts?
The truth is a different matter -- these weapons are very effective weapons of defense and any law enforcement official will tell you straight up that many felony offenders are jacked up on drugs and unlike in the movies one shot does not stop them -- sometimes ten shots do not stop them.
The people have every right to own and bear the same defensive weaponry that our police officers have and use on a daily basis. Indeed, the seminal case Miller said exactly this; the very definition of weapons that are protected under The Second Amendment are those suitable for militia use.
As such these weapons and full-capacity magazines are not on the table for debate, restriction or negotiation Mr. President. Your own security detail thinks they're necessary and that's all the evidence anyone in this country needs, in addition to being the very definition of Constitutional constraint as expressed by well-settled law.
Obama wants to more-severely punish straw purchasers. I'm ok with that, but why do we need new laws? The law already provides for such punishment! Can you not already try someone as an accessory before the fact if they are a straw buyer? You sure can, under existing law. Do so.
The real problem here is that the left, including Obama, refuses to lock people up for the felonies they commit and keep them locked up until they're not dangerous any longer.
As for the BATFE director, let's first find out exactly what happened with Fast And Furious and indict, try, convict and imprison everyone involved.
I'll be happy to talk about a BATFE director confirmation when all the accessories before the fact for the hundreds of murders that resulted from that criminal enterprise and both were and are employed within our government go straight to prison.
Look in the damned mirror first Mr. President and clean your own house, then come talk to we the people.