NRA American Warrior is committed to telling warriors’ stories the way the warriors themselves want them told. “WarriorWire” is our conduit for the unvarnished, unedited reactions of law enforcement and military personnel to the mainstream media’s spin. This space gives them the opportunity to set the record straight, correct inaccuracies and just plain vent.
What do you say to politicians who believe the way to fight violent crime is to pass more restrictive gun laws?
I worked the street as a beat cop for years and I arrested a lot of folks for weapons violations. The ones that got under my skin were the repeat offenders and guys with violent criminal histories who were in possession of firearms illegally. Many of these guns were recovered as stolen property from a burglary, robbery or another type of theft. Those cases were open and shut, no questions asked, some to the point that they pled guilty—only to be handed a light sentence and very little, if any, jail time. This was the norm.
On the flip side, there was only one time when I took a gun from someone who legally possessed it with a concealed-carry permit and was an active drug dealer. He was playing the system and thought he would be able to deploy a smoke screen because he had obtained the permit.
The laws we have on the books today are sufficient and, in some cases, too restrictive towards lawful citizens. Some of these laws actually restrict law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves in certain places (known to criminals by the signs and notifications), making them potential victims.
The sentencing guidelines and punishment being handed down for serious violent crimes are part of the issue. When criminals with violent pasts are arrested and in possession of firearms illegally, they need to be punished. But when those same criminals, who have obtained guns illegally or are possessing them illegally, are given a punishment of six months in jail with all of the sentence suspended and a $500 fine, that’s not sending the message that needs to be relayed.
I am completely in support of lawful citizens carrying and protecting themselves with legally obtained firearms. But I also firmly believe that criminal offenders who possess guns illegally need to have a harsh punishment.
Matt Jacques is a former U.S. Marine and retired law enforcement officer. His career in policing included duties as a SWAT assaulter and sniper, street crimes detective, basic recruit instructor and field training officer. He was also a founding member and special deputy with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force for the D.C. Capital Region. Matt was the senior project manager for FN for their sniper rifle program and also was the lead instructor for the SCAR program.
Matt started Victory First in 2012 and is an industry consultant for several companies including Vertx, where he assists in development of new products and serves as a subject matter expert in firearm concealment and deployment.
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.