It happens pretty much any time a criminal commits a criminal act while using a firearm—the cries to do something. The tweets go out, late night comedians plead and Democratic politicos do stand-ups asking how much longer it will be before we do something about gun violence. I’ve said before I don’t believe we have a problem with gun violence in this country. We have a problem with violence, a lack of respect for other people’s lives and property and serious issues with the criminal justice system. But “gun violence” is about as much of a problem as “McDonald’s Overeating.”
Now typically, when the anti-gun folks start saying we have to do something, what they usually mean is further erode the rights of law-abiding citizens. They talk about “Universal Background Checks” which won’t actually accomplish anything except make it more inconvenient for me to buy a gun from a friend. Or maybe banning “assault weapons” which they define as any gun that is painted black and scary looking—despite the fact that the AR-pattern rifles are A: not actually “assault rifles” and B: are the most popular rifle in the country and C: used so infrequently in crimes that the FBI doesn’t even bother to track them.
In the gun community, we scoff at all of these ideas because we understand how guns and current gun laws work. We all know that criminals don’t follow the law, so any law that is passed with affect only the law-abiding.
So, Mr. Smarty Pants, what can we do to curb the epidemic of “gun violence?” First, read this post to find out it’s really not nearly the problem the media and anti-gun zealots would have you believe. Second, keep reading, because I’m going to give you three common sense things we can do to make America safer. Here we go…
Eliminate Gun Free Zones
Never in the history of crime has a criminal ever happened upon a place that was a designated gun free zone—by law or by sign—stopped in his tracks and moved on to another location to commit his act of mayhem. Ever. The Aurora, CO movie theater killer drove past two other theaters on his way to the one he brutalized. Why? Because those two were not gun free zones. Every school killer ever ignored the No Weapons signs. The Charleston church shooter ignored the fact that churches are gun free zones in South Carolina. Why did they do this? Because they are criminals and they don’t care about the law. It’s kind of in their job description.
Murder is illegal and often carries a death penalty. Do you really think a picture of a gun with a circle/slash through it is going to change anyone’s mind? That’s a legitimate question. Because a friend of mine asked a shopkeeper near here recently why she had a “no guns” sign on her door and she said, “Because that way I don’t have to worry about being robbed at gunpoint.” I’m not making this up.
In the gun community, we have another name for gun free zones—target rich environments. Were I to go on a murderous rampage, I would absolutely go to a place where it’s illegal for law-abiding citizens to carry guns. Why? Because the likelihood of meeting any return fire is nearly nil. Average police response is a solid 10 minutes or more in most jurisdictions, so the thug has at least that long to carry out his evil scheme.
I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it until even Nancy Peloci agrees with me; the only people who obey “No Guns” signs are law-abiding people. If you want to make everyone safer, eliminate them. Don’t give criminals the edge knowing where they can and can’t go and face no resistance.
By the way, Dr. William Aprill has been studying criminals and their psychology for many years and he reports that criminals hate the idea of law-abiding citizens who carry a concealed handgun. They think it’s completely unfair. They also love gun free zones because they know they can do whatever they want and no one will shoot at them.
So, step one of Mike’s Common Sense Gun Laws—eliminate gun free zones. On to step two.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
As I’ve pointed out in a recent post, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of the anti-gun crowd about national reciprocity. There is no good reason why a Federal Constitutional Amendment isn’t honored in every State in the Union. A lot of people want to play the State’s rights card, but to them I suggest a fresh reading of the Tenth Amendment again. If it’s in the Constitution, it’s a Federal issue. If it’s not, it’s up to the States and the People to figure out.
My drivers license is recognized in every State, yet that’s not in the Constitution. My marriage license is recognized in every State, but it’s not in the Constitution. The Supreme Court has upheld in Heller and McDonald that the Second Amendment applies to an individual and said individual has a right to protect himself outside his home.
Also listed among the things I’ll keep repeating is that CCW permit holders are amongst the most law-abiding citizens of our land—more so than even the police. The number of CCW permit holders involved in illegal shootings is so low it doesn’t even break 1%. Considering that citizens use firearms to protect themselves between 300,000 and 1,000,000 times a year (according to the CDC), I’d say everyone would be safer if we had national reciprocity. Well, except perhaps criminals.
Step two. Finally…
Hear me out. One of the biggest challenges to national reciprocity is the whole lack of standards and training. The politicians in CA continually tell us that Californians would be so much less safe if they allowed people from say, Tennessee, in to California with our “less stringent” handgun carry permits. Which is to say we can actually get carry permits here. “People need more training before they should be allowed to carry a gun,” we hear all the time.
Ok. I’ll go along with that. Personally, I hit 86 total hours of professional training this year. Training that has cost me over $4,000. Now thankfully, I can afford said training. But I know a lot of people who simply cannot afford to take even one class per year. A good 4-hour class will cost around $125 plus another $70-100 in ammo. So you’re looking at at least $200 per class. And that’s if you don’t have to travel. There are a lot of people who just don’t have extra money in the budget for training. But, can we tell them they can’t protect themselves since they can’t afford it?
So how about we subsidize the training? I’m fine with it being income-tested because I can afford it. I want more people to be trained. There are a lot of ways this could be done, and I’m not going to go into all of them here. The point is, if we make training more accessible to more people, we’ll have more trained people out there who can protect themselves and others when bad things happen. I don’t see how that’s a negative thing. Unless you’re a criminal. Then this sucks for you.
So there you go. Next time someone tells you we must do something, send them this post. Three concrete things we can do to make America safer. It’s totally do-able and doesn’t even cost anything. Well, except for the training part. But we can figure that out. The other two are easy.
Note: This article was edited on 1/2/18 based on feedback to remove some of the snark and stay on point. Which is good feedback, though it’s tough for me to not be snarky. But, facts don’t care about my feelings, and I’m trying to be effective here.