by Mark Chesnut, Editor - Monday, March 21, 2016
Why is it that cities with the most restrictive gun-control laws seem to now have the fastest-growing murder rates? And why, when those murder rates begin to skyrocket out of control, do city officials seem to believe that the only possible way to curtail the rampant violence is by instituting further restrictions that only affect law-abiding gun owners?
We’ve recently detailed how the murder rate in Chicago—a city with extremely tight gun laws—is spiraling higher every day. Through the last week of February, the city had recorded 95 homicides since the beginning of 2016—a troubling increase compared to the 47 by that time in 2015. The Chicago Tribune also reported that the number of people shot had more than doubled, with about 420 victims through Feb. 26, compared to 193 at the same time in 2015.
Now a report from the Los Angeles Police Department shows that murders in that gun-control poster city are up a whopping 27.5 percent from this time last year. And double-digit increases in robbery and aggravated assault have accompanied the rise in murders. So what’s the solution to such out-of-control violence largely perpetrated by young gangbangers fighting over drugs and turf?
Like in Chicago, much of the murder increase is related to street gangs. According to LAPD, out of a dozen shootings reported over one recent weekend, 10 were gang-related. And more than half of the 48 homicides in the city through February were also gang-related.
So what’s the solution to such out-of-control violence largely perpetrated by young gang members fighting over drugs and turf? To California officials, the logical solution is more restrictive gun-control laws.
In fact, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing a package of restrictions in a ballot initiative he is hoping to get in front of voters in November. And a close look at Newsom’s ideas shows that none of the proposed laws would affect criminal activity.
One proposal would ban possession of and confiscate hundreds of thousands of lawfully possessed magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Why would a person who owns a gun to rob, rape and kill even care about such a restriction? It’s already illegal for them to possess a firearm. They could care less about another magazine limit.
Another proposal to require licensing of all ammunition vendors and drastically limit the places where ammunition could be sold would be equally ineffective against anyone but law-abiding citizens. Criminals typically don’t buy their guns at gun shops—they steal them or get them from family or fellow gang members. Won’t they simply get their ammunition in the same illegal way?
Newsom also wants to require ammunition buyers to undergo a background check before they could purchase any ammunition. I know it sounds like I’m repeating myself, but does anybody really believe armed felons would care anything about a law like that?
Lastly is Newson’s proposal that would turn law-abiding citizens into criminals should they fail to report lost or stolen firearms to police within a limited amount of time after they “should have known” a firearm was missing. Are you kidding me? Criminals are the ones stealing the guns. If you really think a law like this will make even one small bit of difference to armed felons, you’re crazy. They probably sit around and laugh at such proposals, since they know only law-abiding citizens will be negatively impacted by them.
Fact is, none of the restrictions sought by California politicians will affect criminals at all. They will, however, affect law-abiding gun owners—who are not the cause of violent crime.
What’s the real answer to runaway violence in L.A.? There is a solution, and it’s the same one that would work for Chicago and the handful of other big cities currently experiencing increasing murder rates—target the small number of violent criminals bent on murder and mayhem, and put them in jail for a long time.
Further decrease in crime could be seen if big-city officials, in California and elsewhere, would make it easier—not harder—for law-abiding residents to practice their right of armed self-defense. Truth is, criminals don’t follow any gun laws. So as California politicians put up more roadblocks to gun ownership for the law-abiding, they’re simply enabling criminals to pursue violence with little worry that their victims might be able to fight back. “Through a deliberate lack of prosecution, President Obama has made America a sanctuary nation for felons, criminal gangbangers, drug dealers, repeat offenders and illegal aliens.”
— Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre outlined the details on effectively fighting violent crime in a recent video, where he also challenged President Barack Obama to a one-hour, one-on-one network debate over gun control and gun ownership.
“While millions of peaceful, law-abiding gun owners tiptoe in fear of their government, the killers who terrorize our cities prey upon the innocent with no fear of repercussion whatsoever,” LaPierre said. “Through a deliberate lack of prosecution, President Obama has made America a sanctuary nation for felons, criminal gangbangers, drug dealers, repeat offenders and illegal aliens.”
LaPierre said Obama could put a stop to much of the violence—both in Chicago and other big cities—just by deciding he wanted to put an end to it.
“Under the existing federal gun laws, he could take every felon with a gun, drug dealer with a gun, and criminal gangbanger with a gun off the streets tomorrow and lock them up for five years or more,” he said. “But under his direction, federal gun prosecutions have dropped dramatically.
“If the president really wanted to make Americans safer, he’d pick up the phone and tell his Justice Department to flip Chicago (or any large city) upside down until every criminal with a gun, criminal gangbanger with a gun and drug dealer with a gun is arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned to the fullest extent of the law. That would make a difference. That would save lives. But he’s had seven long years to issue that order … and he has failed.”
Will officials in Los Angeles, Chicago and other embattled big cities come to their senses and follow LaPierre’s advice soon enough to save the lives of innocent citizens caught in the crossfire? Only time will tell.
But as long as they keep pushing further restrictions on law-abiding gun owners while giving violent criminals a pass, murder rates in those cities are unlikely to drop any time soon.
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