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Former U.S. Navy SEAl Jeff Gonzales heads up the training program for Trident Concepts, LLC.
“What do you say to politicians who believe the way to fight violent crime is to pass more restrictive gun laws?”
I don’t limit my response to the question to politicians; my opinion extends to all walks of life because it affects everyone. No one is immune from violent crime, no matter how nice his or her neighborhood, the car he drives, or occupation. In fact, if you were to ask your close circle of family and friends if they know someone who has been the victim of a violent crime, you might be surprised by their answers.
Here is the problem: Anyone on the street can tell you it’s illegal to commit robbery, rape or murder. They may not be able to recite the exact statute, but they know the act is illegal. The existence of such laws and penalties for breaking them are intended as a deterrent. Yet despite those plentiful laws, we still see violent crimes. We have to face the fact that a certain demographic doesn’t care about the law. At all.
So, before we talk about even more restrictive laws to curb violent crime, a little honesty is in order. Are the laws currently on the books having a positive or negative impact on reducing violent crimes? If they are not having an impact that reduces crime, what is their purpose? Has anyone bothered to ask the criminal committing these crimes if they were deterred because of the law? Or is there some aspect of the application of the law that allows them to slip through the cracks?
Photo courtesy of Trident Concepts
Only one conclusion matches our experience: The existence of a law against “X” was never a persuasive argument to the violent criminal. Whether it’s their nature or their choice is immaterial to the victim: They’re going to break those laws without meaningful consideration of how restrictive current (or future) law is. This is what criminals do.
I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why existing laws are not satisfactory. Most of us will obey them, but that small minority absolutely will not. It’s at this point in the public debate that logic or reason gets stampeded by emotion. If your best argument for more laws is “… because,” then you’d better be prepared for an even more emotional “… because” to be waiting right around the corner in a cycle that never ends. Each repetition of this cycle costs you liberty, by the way.
And all the while, regular law-abiding folks—maybe some you care about—continue to take a literal beating (or worse), and society’s well-intentioned protections are almost always too late.
If we insist on having more laws, let’s have some that protect law-abiding citizens as they try to care for themselves and their loved ones. With very few exceptions, it’s about the only thing we haven’t tried, and we are far more likely to see a positive effect.
It’s time to stop debating whether criminals are going to obey the law: We know they won’t, and to continue to dwell on this is wasted time and effort. It’s a nice but badly outdated sentiment to hope for a world where crime doesn’t exist.
Long, unpleasant experience shows me it’s not just unrealistic, but very dangerous.
Jeff Gonzales heads up the staff of diverse trainers and instructors for Trident Concepts, LLC, a reality-based company specializing in personal protection tactics and training for armed and unarmed conflicts. He was a decorated and respected U.S. Navy SEAL and has worked in a variety of environments and capacities throughout the globe.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Rifle Association.