When the last gun store in San Francisco announced this week that they were closing their doors owing to the onerous restrictions the city and the police were placing on the business, the rest of the country paid some attention. That is somewhat unusual because city officials there frequently operate on the fringe, what they do there is often unique and not impactful on the rest of the country—many folks are just happy that they can’t easily change the natural physical beauty of the land. They are a city of edges– geographically and politically. Sometimes though, when they do goofy things, they catch the nation’s attention. That is what happened when one local politician, his name to trite to mention, was poised to present a law that would have required the city’s last remaining gun store to video record every gun sale and submit a weekly report of ammunition sales to the police. The manager of the store, Steve Alcairo, refused to subject his customers to this kind of treatment. He said, “I’m not doing that to our customers. Enough is enough (The city already has some of the nation’s strongest and strangest gun regulations on the books—it is not a mystery why this was the last standing gun store). Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right. Our customers shouldn’t be treated like their doing something wrong”. One politician didn’t seem to care; he hid by the usual excuse that such measures are needed to help police combat violent crime—“Anything that makes San Francisco safer, I support”, he said.
Well, he is right about one thing, videos would help, especially those that capture police arrests—there seems to be a real need for some protection there. Meanwhile, the politician needs to think about how important the second amendment is, and about how many brave soldiers have fought for such constitutional rights. And when he is at it, he may find out that gun control has virtually zero impact on most violent crimes. If a mentally ill person, or a criminal, wants to kill people, he or she will likely not bother to buy one from a store—they will steal them or procure them on the street. No law, including a requirement that manufacturers place chips in the weapons, will have a meaningful impact on such senseless murders. Increasing mental health assistance to people, especially when they are young, is the answer.