A Primer on “Common Sense” Gun Laws

First, let me say that I share in the loss and mourn with those who lost loved ones in that terrible Florida school shooting. Some people want to take advantage of those raw emotions to see if they can obtain some political advantage in what really ought to be a time of mourning. But I want you to fully understand that what the anti-gunners mean by “common sense” gun laws is not necessarily what the rest of us call “common sense”. The phrase itself, “Common sense gun laws”, polls well. I mean, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Who in their right mind could object to “common sense”? Poll any number of people if you think we should have “common sense gun laws” and you will get a majority, maybe even unanimity!

The gun grabbers then try to use that superficial verbal agreement, since nearly everyone agrees we should have common sense guns laws, then, you should have no problem accepting the ones they’re proposing, regardless of how ineffectual they might be, whether or not they solve the problem, and whether or not there are unintended consequences to Constitutional rights, public safety or both, so long as we label them “common sense”. There’s the bait and switch.

A Democrat, John Dingell, of Michigan said in 1965,
“We now have on the lawbooks of this nation over 20,000 laws governing the sale, distribution and use of firearms.”
I guess it’s pretty safe to assume we’ve added some since then. Yet, for all the “common sense” gun laws already on the books, the people whose ultimate goal is the complete elimination of privately owned firearms (the honest ones will tell you that. Stop laughing!), the anti-gunners want ever increasing restrictions on firearms, the quantity, the quality, the ease of ownership, the cost of ownership, until they have made it too prohibitively expensive or onerous to obtain, and erode the Second Amendment rights of honest, law abiding Americans to keep and bear arms. At least you common ones! We with political clout and wealth will still require our bodyguards to be fully armed!

“But, but…”you might say, “we still have terrible school shootings. We have to do something!!” Aye, and we can. But before we trip down the primrose path of passing new laws, pause a moment and consider what effect new laws will have if they are enforced exactly the same way as the 20,000 plus we already have?

Consider straw purchases, that is to say, buying a gun for someone else, who could not pass a background check.  That is currently against the law. “Well then, that’s settled!” You would think so, wouldn’t you? But, “U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones told a Congressional panel in 2013 that out of 48,321 cases involving straw buyers, the Justice Department prosecuted only 44“.
If you’re wondering how that works out to a percentage it’s: 0.0009105 ( 0.01 = 1 percent).

And just how harsh is the punishment for those prosecuted? To quote Jim Geraghty,
“Last year, Simone Mousheh purchased four weapons for $600 each and sold two to a man with Chicago gang ties. She was sentenced to 12 months probation, 15 days in the Cook County sheriff’s work alternative program and ordered to pay $679 in fines.”
In other words, a “slap on the wrist”. California’s “common sense” gun laws did not stop the San Bernadino shooters, (14 killed, 22 seriously  wounded), from getting their long guns via a straw purchase, nor did they prevent them from illegal modifications under the state’s assault weapons ban.

Let’s recap: Under state and federal “common sense gun laws”, you can’t buy guns for someone else and lie about it, you can’t legally modify the guns you bought illegally to operate the way they did, oh, and by the way, it’s illegal to shoot people. Noise ordinance or some such.

California has, in addition to their common sense gun laws, some of the most restrictive laws in the nation. Likewise, Chicago, where just last year, 3,561 people were shot, 650 killed. Which, granted, was fewer than 2016, where they had 771 murders. Just checking my memory, but have you heard anyone screeching that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had “blood on his hands”? Any screams of “We have to do something?” Funny how only white suburban shootings seem to rouse the anti-gunners from their slumber! According to CBS News, 27 people were shot in Chicago the very first day of the year.

Shrieks of outrage? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller??

No, because Chicago already has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Making a fuss there would be counterproductive to passing new laws, which would be, for the most part, those very same laws for the rest of the country. Show me the law working in Chicago and I’ll consider implementing it somewhere else. Anywhere else. You say, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough!” Likewise, emotional grandstanding and demagoguery is not enough, either.

One last point on “common sense” gun laws and their implementation. Consider the incongruity of liberal attitudes towards guns. I’m sure you’ve all heard the horror stories of “zero tolerance” in the public schools, which are by and large the domain of liberals. A kid is expelled for biting a Pop Tart into the “shape of a gun” or drawing a picture of a gun. A kid put a green Army man on his ball cap to honor veterans, but because it carried a 3″ plastic rifle, it violated the “zero tolerance” policy on guns. Zero means zero! Repercussions are swift! Off with his hat!

Contrast that with our attitude with people who bring actual guns onto a school campus. How many times do you suppose has a teenager walked away from a courtroom because “it was his first offense”. Really? So we get one free murder each, like the Bill Clinton “one free grope” rule? Or we question whether or not to try a 16-17 year old gangbanger as an adult, because “He’s just a child, better go easy on him!” If there ever were a place for zero tolerance, shouldn’t it be for murder and violent assaults? Popular media reinforces the stereotype that first offenders, and those under eighteen, will skate on a first offense, or receive a much less stringent sentence. Where’s the deterrence in that?

Listen to what Nikolas Cruz’s public defender, Melisa McNeill, said about him:
“When your brain is not fully developed, you don’t know how to deal with these things. When you have the lack of impulse control that a 19 year old has, that effects the behavior you exhibit.”

Got that? All you seventeen, eighteen, nineteen year olds: your brain is not fully developed, you lack impulse control and you don’t know how to deal with these things! Next time you get pulled over by a police officer, tell him, “Officer, my brain is not yet fully developed and my lack of impulse control effects the behavior I exhibit.” At which point, the officer will pat you on your head and send you home to Mommy…in no universe ever!

I’m thinking maybe we need a class action suit against the military. For years they drafted 18 year olds, with brains not fully developed, enlisted recruits as young as seventeen, with their parent’s permission, and put a rifle* in the hands of all those poor lads who lacked impulse control and showed them which end the round came out!

“That’s the child I’m sitting across from…He’s sad. He’s mournful. He’s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he’s just a broken human being.”
Not sure if any jury is going to buy this. A 19 year old “child” who is “fully aware of what is going on”, even with his ‘not yet fully developed brain’ and ‘lack of impulse control’ is somehow not responsible for what millions of similarly functioning young adults have managed not to do for as long as anyone can remember?

If it’s a question of not knowing right from wrong, ask yourself why he took his vest off and tried to exit unnoticed with all the other students? To avoid capture. Why would he try to avoid capture unless he knew what he did was wrong?

Before you join the stampede for new guns laws, because “we can’t just do nothing”, consider the consequences of electing and appointing District Attorneys, Judges, and Attorneys General and electing the politicians who appoint them, who do not enforce the laws they write, that are already on the books, such as “straw purchases”.

And maybe before you start calling pro-gunners vile names and wishing for their painful deaths and the deaths of their children, consider that they probably value much of what you value, and want many of the same things for their children and their communities as you do, but simply disagree with you on the best way to accomplish it.

*Or a fighter jet. What could possibly go wrong? Welcome to readers of Fishersville Mike, who graciously linked to this post.

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