Jenkins: More gun control a waste of time

By Paul Jenkins |

It was as predictable as sunrise. With bodies barely counted in the Las Vegas massacre there were panicked calls from the left and its media pals for something, anything, to be done about America’s “gun problem.” What we desperately need, they said, is more gun control.

Here is a worrisome bit of news for them: Gun control does not work, even when it is peddled to the rubes under its new liberal moniker — “gun safety.” It does not work in Chicago. It does not work in New York. It does not work in France. Guns are not the problem. Targeting them is akin to advocating fork control because obesity is epidemic — and it wastes valuable time.

People who want to kill with guns easily can find guns to kill with. There are perhaps 300 million of them in this country alone. Nobody really is certain. Even outright confiscation — the left’s unspoken, but eventual goal — would not get them all. It is silly to believe otherwise.

Additionally, more gun control is unnecessary. Even with the vast stores of weaponry in this country, even with more than 13 million Americans now able to legally carry concealed weapons for self-defense, the homicide rate in the U.S. — gasp! — has dropped by almost 50 percent since 1993 as gang and drug violence wanes.

So what can be done to reduce it even further, to stop mass shootings? The Nancy Pelosis and Chuck Schumers are sticking to a tried-and-failed approach. More of what does not work.

Gun registration? To accomplish what? Registered guns kill just as easily as unregistered guns and a government-run registry is simply a long step toward confiscation of whatever particular gun scares the left at any given time. In the half-dozen states and the District Of Columbia, where it exists today, it does not work. Criminals do not comply.

What about universal background checks to deny guns to those who should not have them? The left loves the idea. It would end private purchases and sales and funnel all transactions through licensed dealers. Each transaction would have to be cleared through the already overworked, underfunded National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Background checks through that system already are required for dealers’ transactions — and did nothing to prevent the Las Vegas massacre. A universal system would not have, either.

A universal system would be anything but universal and require registration of each and every gun in the country to be effective. Further, it would affect only law-abiding citizens. A Justice Department study concluded 40 percent of armed criminals obtain guns on the streets; another 40 percent from family or friends. Fewer than 2 percent get them from flea markets or gun shows.

Such a system would not stop the mentally ill from obtaining guns because privacy concerns make them almost invisible to background checks and many of this nation’s mass killers have been mentally ill. And it would have little-to-no effect on suicides, which account for about 60 percent of all adult firearms deaths.
Then, there is the government’s penchant for lists. In the past, dealer background checks data — despite federal law to the contrary and congressional intent — have ended up in government files, creating de facto gun registration lists. It has happened three times. That we know about. There is every reason to believe a universal system would be abused.

How about banning specific weapons, such as the left’s biggest bugaboo — the evil AR-15? Such a ban did not work in 1994’s misnamed and wrong-headed “assault weapons” ban. It did nothing to curb violence then. It would do nothing now.

The AR-15 and its myriad clones are modular, accurate and light — and, by far, the most popular rifle platform in the country. There are perhaps 10 million of them in circulation. Again, nobody knows for sure, but they are involved in less than 2 percent of all gun crimes.

What about Australia’s gun control? The left is agog. And why not? It is little more than a gun-confiscation scheme that would run afoul of the Second Amendment in this country.

The problem Democrats and others on the left have in pushing their gun control agenda is that Americans are onto them. Too often, gun control advocates, in their rush to control guns, appear, in the words of liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, “supercilious, condescending and spectacularly uninformed about the guns they propose to regulate.” It is all too easy to see his point.

Without resorting to some sort of tyrannical leftist police state, there must be answers to identifying and dealing with those among us most likely to kill, answers that are constitutional and address specific problems.

More gun control is not one of them.

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