They’re Modest Because They Don’t Work

31 May
May 31, 2018

Oh look! One of the NYT writers put together a listicle of “modest” gun control proposals that will reduce “gun deaths.” Let’s see what brilliance has been spewed this time. Original text in italics.

1. Require universal background checks to see if a purchaser is a felon or a threat to others. The latest study finds that 22 percent of guns are obtained in the U.S. without a background check, and polls find that more than 90 percent of the public supports making these checks universal. Yet the federal government balks.

Let’s be charitable and say that the study is correct and that 22% of guns are purchased without background checks. It says nothing about how many of those are used in a crime. Moreover, as much as they keep repeating the 90% line, when the universal background check proposals hit the ballots, they fail or just barely pass – no where near this mythical 90%.

2. Improve background checks by allowing the federal government adequate time to perform them. At the moment, if the authorities have not completed the check within three business days, the buyer can get the gun. More than 90 percent of checks are completed within minutes, but a small number require investigation. The shooter who killed nine people at an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015 should not have been able to purchase a weapon because of a drug history, but the background check was not finished in three days — so he was able to buy it.

Except the vast majority of these flags are false positives, which means that you are keeping the gun out of the hand of someone who should have it and may need it right fucking now. And considering how often the NICS system isn’t assigned enough personnel now, I’m hesitant to trust the federal government to properly staff it to investigate all the flags. Further, if you want to improve the system, let’s make sure all the fucking records are there.

3. Pass “red flag laws” that allow a judge to order the temporary removal of a gun from people who are a threat to themselves or others. Connecticut enacted the first of these laws back in 1999, and Indiana, California, Washington, Oregon and Florida have passed similar laws since. The idea is that if friends hear someone threaten suicide or mumble about attacking a school, the authorities can remove a gun. A hearing is later held with due process protections.

Yes, let’s deprive a person of their property without due process, and on the basis of unverifiable “whispers.” Nope, that won’t be abused. And do you really think that the police will return the individual’s property when it is determined (s)he is not a danger to the community? I mean, it’s not like they’ve refused to do so in the past or made the process so expensive most people walk away from their property.

4. Get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Nearly half of women murdered in America are killed by a present or past lover, yet the existing laws in this area are full of loopholes.

Do you even know the fucking laws? People convicted of domestic abuse (even misdemeanor domestic abuse) are prohibited persons. That means they can’t legally purchase a gun. So, what are these loopholes? You mean like when a woman won’t press charges, and therefore the man is not convicted? That fucking sucks, but it’s not a loophole. Because we can’t deprive someone of their rights based on allegations.

5. Require safe storage of guns, preferably in a safe or at least with a trigger lock. One study found that only a minority of gun owners in the U.S. keep all their guns secure. When guns aren’t stored safely, it is easier for children to find them and play with them, for teenagers to use them for suicides, or for burglars to steal them. Some 300,000 guns are stolen each year in the United States.

Let’s start out with some real common sense. It is a good idea to keep your weapons secured and/or under your direct control. The devil is in the details – such as what happened in Heller. One other minor thing, accidental deaths by firearms (even among children) are at their lowest point – even with more guns in circulation.

6. Make serial numbers harder to file off, and require microstamping, so that cartridges can be traced back to the gun that fired the bullets.

Except that microstamping doesn’t work and increases the cost of the guns. Something that puts them out of the reach of people who actually need them for self defense. And how the fuck do serial numbers prevent “gun deaths?”

7. Invest in “smart guns” that require a PIN, fingerprint or nearby bracelet to fire. It’s outrageous that someone who steals my iPhone is foiled by my PIN, but stolen guns can be immediately fired. Smart guns shouldn’t be obligatory, but they should be an option. The way forward is probably for a police force to experiment with smart guns, giving them credibility with the public.

When the police or military start actually using them, I’ll start to these guns seriously. When they start actually using them and not disabling the smart devices, I may actually considering purchasing one. Guess what I will never do – support all guns be smart guns. Why? One becuse they significantly increase the cost and decrease the effectiveness of the gun. Two things that should never happen for items used for self defense.

Let’s take the smartphone example, since those are common items that have some sort of ID system. How often does your fingerprint scan fail to unlock your phone? Do you think it would be improved by hands coated in sweat – or blood? How often do you accidentally hit the wrong pin and have to re-enter? Do you think that would increase under stress – like fighting for your life? Do you want to waste a precious second of that fight unlocking your most effective means of protecting your life? And let’s not forget that criminals are already very good at bypassing current “smart” systems.

8. Support community anti-violence programs, like Cure Violence and Becoming a Man, that work with at-risk young people and show excellent success in reducing shootings. One study showed each dollar invested resulted in at least $5 in savings from reduced crime.

Stopped clocks and all that. Finally, something that might actually work because it gets to the real cause of “gun deaths” – people. Removing or restricting guns does not remove or restrict the violent tendencies of people born or bred into a criminal life. Those you need to either change through social and/or psychological programs. Or remove those people from general society if they are unable or unwilling to change.

9. Limit buyers in most cases to one or two gun purchases a month, to reduce gun trafficking.

Where has this worked? Virginia got rid of theirs because it was doing more to inconvenience lawful purchasers and doing nothing to stop the mostly mythical “iron pipeline.”

10. Invest in gun buybacks. Since 1994, Americans have acquired an additional 100 million guns. The average gun-owning household now has eight firearms, and as owners die there should be a big push to acquire these guns.

Again, another proposal shown not to fucking work. It’s a waste of public resources so that politicians can say they’ve “done something.” Although, it does give me a chance to pick up some guns on the cheap.

So, out of ten proposals, only one might work, and the rest are ineffective at best and cause deprivation of life and liberty at worst.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *