You may not be aware of this, but there is a law on the books that makes murder illegal. Similarly, there are laws on the books that make armed robbery illegal. Rape, armed criminal action, assault, manslaughter – all these things are illegal. The presence of laws on these subjects does not stop them, it merely provides a mechanism to punish those convicted of these crimes. No one demands that police prevent murders. We demand they catch the villains, but we don’t demand that the police stand in front of our house and stop the murder from happening, and for obvious reasons.
We have laws against companies discriminating on the basis of age, sex, national origin, age and race. Yet every day African-Americans are discriminated against in the pursuit of employment, as are Asians, Hispanics, and other people of color. Women often feel job discrimination. As a man over 60, I’ve been the victim of age discrimination. Yet, there are laws that prohibit this. Does the law work?
Sure, in good companies, it keeps honest people honest. It does not prevent the exercise of discrimination at bad companies, it just punishes the conduct of that discrimination through the civil law. But it doesn’t prevent every instance of discrimination. Ask any person of color if you’re unclear on this.
There are laws that prohibit child abuse and elder abuse, but in spite of these laws, these vulnerable members of our society are still abused. The law does not prevent it, except in that rare instance where the only thing holding back a parent’s hand is the sure knowledge that injury to their child will invite investigation from the police. In that limited respect, the law acts to prevent harm, but more often than not it fails. And after 13 years working in Emergency Rooms, I can tell you it fails badly!
We have laws against credit card theft and identity theft, yet these crimes continue to happen. Life-Lock and other credit-monitoring companies have made millions off the fact that criminals want to steal from you. The law does not prevent the thefts, it punishes those that are dumb enough to get caught (and most of these clowns are overseas). It does not deter the crimes. Ever.
We have laws against drunk driving. Yet, in every state, people drive drunk. We have laws against texting while driving, but again, in every state, people do this every day. The law is either ignored or not enforced. We have laws against minors in possession of alcohol, but sure enough, every kid over 16 knows where and how to get a beer if they really want one. Because while the laws that forbid sales to minors exist, they do not prevent that from happening. Rather, they provide a means to punish the people who sell it. If they worked, it would never happen.
In literally only one area do we expect the criminal law to stop something, and that area is in the domain of gun control. We have background checks, yet criminals get around them. We have requirements to obtain CCW permits, but criminals carry concealed anyway without a permit. That’s because the penalty for carrying and using a gun usually winds up negotiated out of the prison sentence once the criminals are caught. Prosecutors play “lets make a deal.” Defendants get charges dropped in exchange for guilty pleas on other charges. The result is that while someone should do hard time for three years in a state penitentiary, instead, they wind up with 90 days in the county jail and serve 45 with time off for good behavior. And before you can say boo, they’re in possession of yet another firearm and they’re off to commit another crime. Because they have no respect for the law, and no fear of prosecution, they offend with impunity.
Yesterday a special needs child was killed because a thug – and that’s the proper description of him – decided that he need a .357 magnum to kill his estranged wife. Unwilling to be accountable for the path his bullets would take through his victims, he shot at his estranged wife and killed a young man who was barely 8 years old. There is no explaining this crime. There is no solution to this crime. The miscreant can’t even be punished because the coward took his own life (at least saving the taxpayers that expense). And this happened in a state with magazine bans, background checks, draconian gun laws, “may issue” concealed carry, and in a “gun-free” (meaning “criminals unrestrained”) zone.
So, did the law against murder stop this crime? No. Did the law against manslaughter stop this crime? No. Did the law against a person with drug and alcohol offenses having a gun stop this crime? No. Did universal background checks stop this crime? No. What about laws against domestic violence, did they stop this crime? No. No law stopped this crime because (a) this man did not fear the law; (b) no criminal respects the law; (c) this criminal knew he was going to take his own life; and (d) it would not have mattered if he had used a knife, a gun, or a rock, his estranged wife would still be dead, and he would still be a murderer.
There is one conceivable law that might have stopped this crime. That is gun confiscation: The removal of guns from private hands. That would have stopped this crime, but, it is completely contrary to the Second Amendment. If that idea doesn’t scare you, you’re not rational. When #Gunsense tells you they want to stop gun crimes, and that they seek “common sense gun control” they have to recognize that the only common sense gun control that would actually stop gun crimes is the complete confiscation of all personally-owned firearms. But they won’t tell you that because they want you to think they’re reasonable. They are not reasonable. We have a Second Amendment to protect us from our government, not so much from each other. But it protects the right to self defense too! And there are 100 million patriots out there that would die before they give up their right to keep and bear arms.
But Mom’s Demand and Gunsense’s ability to reason doesn’t extend to honoring the lives of those killed. Rather, they simply try to make their families the poster-children for gun control. They claim to mourn the children, but in fact, they celebrate their deaths because it brings them one step closer to achieving what they want: more gun control legislation that will accomplish absolutely nothing. The only thing it will do is make it harder on the law-abiding citizen to keep and bear arms.
The time has come to recognize that it really is an all-or-nothing situation. Until we have criminal control, until we have prosecutors who won’t make deals on gun crimes, we’re stuck. We need prosecutors to insist on full terms for gun crimes. We need them to enforce felon-in-possession statutes. We need to take parole off the table for gun crimes. We absolutely need to send every felon in possession case to the US attorney for federal prosecution. That’s the only way to stop this. And we need sentencing guidelines that grossly and disproportionately exact vengeance on those that use guns to commit violent crimes. Until we have people who serve the law doing what they are supposed to do, and judges doing what they are supposed to do, no matter how many gun control laws get passed, you’re going to see the violence continue.