When it comes to the gun-control debate, liberals have a problem with cause and effect. They continue to blame gun violence on inanimate objects—guns—rather than the people who consciously choose to use these inanimate objects in malicious, violent, and destructive ways. Every time a mentally disturbed person uses a gun to express his anger and frustration with the world, liberals ramp up their never-ending campaign for new and more restrictive gun laws. To even suggest that the perpetrator’s mental condition might be the cause of the violence in question brings howls of protest from liberals who foolishly believe that laws actually prevent crime. To a gun-control liberal, criminals who use guns are somehow different. They will, according to the illogic of liberals, suddenly become law-abiding citizens who will never again pick up a gun if liberal legislators can just pass new laws.
But there is a problem with constantly advocating for new and more restrictive gun laws: there are already so many gun laws on the books that existing laws are not being enforced. Why enact new gun-control laws when those on the books are not being enforced? Why not simply enforce the laws that currently exist? These two questions are not popular in liberal circles. In fact, liberals carefully avoid discussions in which these questions come up. Writing in American Rifleman (May 2013), Wayne LaPierre—Executive Vice-President of the National Rifle Association—had this to say about the lack of enforcement of existing gun laws: “Everything real violent criminals do to acquire a firearm is already a serious federal felony. Under federal law, lying to a licensed dealer, lying on the form 4473, and straw sales are all federal felonies that are almost never prosecuted.” Yet these crimes are used by liberals to justify their demand for a national registration system for gun purchases. Again, why not enforce the laws that already exist?
LaPierre also cites several additional federal statutes that are already on the books, but are only sporadically enforced. Here is a summary of those statutes, what they proscribe, and the prison sentences associated with them:
- 18 U.S.C. 922(g): A felon, fugitive, or drug user may be sentenced to 10 years in prison for being in possession of a firearm or ammunition. In other words, the firearms that liberals want to ban are already banned for criminals, fugitives, and drug users. What is needed is better enforcement of this existing law—not new laws that will not be enforced. This reinforces a point often made by those of us who support the Second Amendment: gun laws will take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens but will do nothing to prevent criminals from getting guns.
- 18 U.S.C. 922(j): An individual may be sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing a stolen firearm. Since criminals often use stolen firearms in committing the violent crimes liberals are constantly wringing their hands about, simply enforcing this law would cut down on gun violence. This being the case, one can only wonder who liberals are really aiming at with their campaign for new gun-control laws. The answer should be obvious: law-abiding citizens.
- 18 U.S.C. 924(b): An individual may be sentenced to 10 years in prison for shipping, transporting, or receipt of a firearm across state lines with intent to commit a felony.
- 18 U.S.C. 924(a): An individual may be sentenced to 5 to 30 years in prison for carrying, using, or possessing a firearm in connection with a violent federal crime or in the act of drug trafficking.
- 18 U.S.C. 924(j): An individual may be sentenced to death for committing murder while possessing a firearm in connection with a violent crime or in the act of drug trafficking.
- 18 U.S.C. 924(g): An individual may be sentenced to 10 years in prison for interstate travel to acquire or effect the transfer of a firearm for the purpose of committing a crime.
Those summarized above are just a sampling of the gun-control laws that are already on the books and are readily available to law enforcement personnel and prosecutors. These laws cover every aspect of acquiring, possessing, transporting, and illegally using firearms. It is hard to see how new laws will do anything to curb gun violence that enforcing these existing laws would not do.
Yes, there is a problem with gun violence in the United States. But problems are solved by identifying the root cause and dealing with it. Guns are not the root cause of gun violence. Guns are just inanimate objects; as such they do nothing of their own accord. Violent acts using guns are perpetrated by people, most of whom are hardened criminals or mentally disturbed individuals. Lock up the criminals and provide for the proper treatment and confinement of the mentally disturbed and gun violence will no longer be a problem in the United States. Accept the illogic and hypocrisy of liberal gun-control advocates and gun violence will just continue.