I walked into a fitness center for the first time last week having decided to shed a few pounds. I didn’t even get past the receptionist before she said: “You are not allowed in here.” Somewhat stunned, I ask “why not.” She pointed at a sign on the wall which read “No Guns Allowed.” Before I could say anything else, she leveled her finger at my exposed biceps and just shrugged her shoulders – I caught her drift and left.
Gun control advocates, special interest groups, and PACS have come up with a new angle for pushing their desired anti-gun laws into effect – they have virtually given up on Congress and instead are now focusing on states that allow ballot measures. The goal is to convince state legislators to control the sale of weapons to the public tightly; the sneak attack is designed to prey on states where tragic shootings have taken place- to strike when the iron is hot. The singular goal of these similarly-minded people are not deterred by recent national polls showing the public’s support for the right to bear arms without the infringements sought by these well organized and financed groups (In some states where anti-gun initiatives are on the special ballot, the advocacy groups have 7 times more money than groups like the NRA). The polls also clearly establish that 42% of American households report the ownership of at least one gun, and most Americans believe that guns make a person feel safer. The groups are urged on by liberal publications like the “New Yorker” magazine when they weigh in on the subject; a recent article (January 2015) stated that “Gun control stops the violence,” and further, “Gun possession does not deter crime, it merely makes it more lethal.” Of course, neither of these contentions appears to be true, but they sound good for the cause.
State and federal laws in place already prohibit felons and those restricted, in most any manner, by domestic assault crimes (Including misdemeanors) and orders of protection, from possessing (widely construed) a weapon; the average penalty for a felon in possession of a gun is a 5- year minimum sentence to prison (not a local jail-prison!). Penalties for violating the “no-possession” provisions of a domestic order are similar.
Most Americans are in favor of some restrictions being placed on the purchase of weapons, in the same manner, we require age limits for drinking and smoking, but any restrictions imposed must be narrowly tailored to justify their existence. For example, a vendor should not be permitted to sell a weapon to anyone who has been adjudicated mentally unfit; reasonable waiting periods are okay because we don’t know who is a felon or who is mentally unfit. Likewise, certain automatic weapons and ammunition can reasonably be prohibited.
The problem is, advocates for gun control want too much, and they tend to operate under false beliefs similar to those expressed in the “New Yorker” article. Old clichés such as “If you outlaw guns, then only the outlaws will have them,” are not really a stretch. Does any rational person believe that a scorned, intoxicated, and agitated man is going to be deterred by a possible jail sentence right before he shoots and kills his girlfriend or wife? Would it not be wise for the woman to have a gun? Gun control advocates often refuse to draw clear lines and rely on faulty statistics when they say that the women described above are just aggravating an already lethal situation by having a gun-it doesn’t ring true.