Another firearm crime, another call for more gun laws—laws that would do nothing to reduce crime but would make it more difficult for law-abiding people to acquire guns for sport or defense.
This time, one mainstream media outlet actually made that point. Paul Muschick, a reporter for The Morning Call, isn’t always on the right side of the gun debate, but in a recent “The Watchdog” column, he brought a key argument to light.
“The reality is this: people who want a gun have many ways to get one. They can borrow one from a relative or a friend. They can steal one. They can buy one illegally on the street,” Muschick wrote after Justin Kephart killed his mother and fired more than 100 rounds during a stand-off with police in December. “Too many people look at laws as a way to stop crime. Laws instead should be viewed as a way to punish those who commit crime.”
Yet that reality hasn’t stopped people from calling for more restrictions that would make it harder for a law-abiding citizen to get a gun. Has any anti-gunner really stopped to think about the fact that when bad guys realize they won’t be punished, that gives them freer rein to commit their misdeeds? And that brings us to the second half of the equation: If jurisdictions were to enforce the laws that are already on the books, communities would be able to reduce the incidence of crime.
We’ve seen it happen before. Look at Richmond, Va. In the mid-1990’s, Virginia’s capital city had one of the highest murder rates for a city its size. Instead of politicians wringing their hands and saying the homicide problem required more gun control, in 1997 the city instituted Project Exile, a program marked by aggressive prosecution of armed criminals. The result: the number of homicides dropped by 45 percent and armed robberies dropped by 30 percent in just one year.
The NRA supports the same type of enforcement focus at the federal level, something that was missing during former President Barack Obama’s tenure. His Department of Justice, as you know, wasn’t committed to putting and keeping those convicted on gun-related crimes behind bars, as evidenced by the fact that federal prosecutions of gun-related crimes fell precipitously during Obama’s term in office.
But Americans called for change in 2016 and the Trump administration stands ready to deliver.
“Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions and President Donald J. Trump have pledged to vigorously enforce the federal law—especially to relieve the good citizens of the nation’s inner cities of the daily terror of the most dangerous armed thugs and drug dealers,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre wrote in his May 2017 column in America’s 1stFreedom.
And for that we can be grateful. Enforcing established laws is a better way to prevent tragedies like the one in Bethlehem, Pa.