How it’s not a real solution for gun violence…
By: Hayden Cunningham
Gun control has been one of the biggest talking points for every Democratic candidate for President. Now that Joe Biden is in office, he has continually made remarks regarding his plans to end gun violence. His proposals would be the biggest regulations of firearms since the National Firearms Act of 1934. It is unclear if his plans will ever become law, but the push for gun control is growing among Democratic politicians.
To determine if Joe Biden’s gun plan is effective, it is important to understand our current laws regarding firearms. In this article, we discuss some of the reasons for gun violence in modern America, what the process is to buy a firearm, if restrictions in the past have worked, and what details are included in the President’s desired gun laws.
Reasons for Gun Violence
There are many factors involved to explain the rise in gun violence and “mass shootings” in recent years. The obvious truth is that this is not a gun problem. We have serious mental health and cultural problems in the United States that have made people perform violent acts with a firearm.
There are socio-economic factors at hand that cause more crime in poor neighborhoods. But it may not be true that poverty equals more gun crime. During the time of the Great Depression, gun crime did not increase. Homicide rates during this time actual went down by 20%. Yet, in modern times there is more gun crime in inner-city, ghetto neighborhoods. This is because of culture.
The rise in “mass shootings” may also be because of cultural shifts in our country. When looking at high-profile mass shooters, many will have these two things in common: the shooting occurred in a gun-free zone, and the shooter had no father. Also, it’s worth noting that the “mass shootings” we see on television are only a percent of mass shootings every year. There is gang violence happening every week that results in mass death of three or more people.
There has been a huge increase in mental health problems in this country over the last few decades. Lawmakers need to find a way to keep hands out of mentally ill people while not writing broad laws that also include innocent individuals capable of owning a gun.
The Current Gun-Buying process
To purchase a gun from a store, it must be purchased from a licensed dealer (Federal Firearms License). When making this purchase, all individuals are required to pass a background check. This will verify that the purchaser does not have any prior felonies, active warrants, restraining orders, a history of mental health issues, etc. You are also required to show a photo-ID to verify your address and your age (18 years minimum for rifles, 21 years minimum for handguns).
There are currently 10 states that have various forms of waiting periods for firearms. If an individual walks into a store to purchase a gun, they have to wait a certain period of time to actually obtain the gun. This is policy in some states with the intent to stop someone from buying a gun out of rage. If they are buying a gun to commit a crime and have to wait, perhaps they may not commit the crime days later when they get the gun. There is no substantial evidence to believe this is effect. It also negatively effects innocent civilians. What if, for example, a woman is being stalked by an ex-boyfriend and fears he may show up at her home where she lives alone? She may want a gun that very day to bring home and defend herself should she need it. There are countless other examples of why a person would need a gun the same day they buy it. The law does little to curb violence, and disproportionately hurts honest buyers.
Texas passed a law this year to make them a “Constitutional Carry” state for firearms. These means that individuals do not have to pass any additional requirements to conceal a firearm that they carry in public. Here is map detailing which states have the same stance:
States labeled “shall-issue” have laws that require conceal carry licenses to meet certain criteria. States labeled “may issue” also require certain criteria, but the ability to conceal carry is not guaranteed. Discretion is used to determine which applicants receive a gun, and which ones do not. Typically, these states are very restrictive and will deny a large percentage of applicants.
The reasons for gun violence our country used to not experience are complex and hard to determine. There is no evidence to prove a gun-ban would solve all are problems. This proposal is coming from the party that says if you ban abortion, people will still get them and now they’ll be unsafe. Doesn’t the same thing apply to guns? there are approximately 400 million guns in America. That number is higher than the country’s population. If we make those illegal, aren’t people just going to engage in illegal transactions?
States have also issued magazine capacity laws to restrict the number of rounds in a firearm. California, for example, has had a long legal battle regarding their limit to ten rounds. There are many magazine sizes for rifles. The most common are 10, 20, 30, and 40 round magazines. Restricting a firearm to ten rounds is less than what even a pistol is capable of holding.
It takes on average five shots for the average person to stop an intruder. If you have several intruders in your home, and you are not very accurate, that starts to be a safety problem very quickly if you live in a state with ten round restrictions. Besides, what gives the government the right to tell us how many rounds we are allowed to have? Laws like this do not stop violent individuals that are already committing crimes to begin with. Instead, they hurt the innocent.
Gun-free zones don’t work. Consider this analogy: would you put a sign outside your home that says “we are unarmed inside”? Of course you couldn’t. That’s essentially what gun-free zones do. Law-abiding civilians will not carry guns into these zones, and criminals will. The result? Violent crime occurring with no one able to defend themselves.
The cities with more gun control have the most violence. Chicago, D.C., New York all have massive forms of gun restrictions. The violence continues to happen.
Violent crime increased in the U.S. between the 1960’s and the 1990’s. As laws were passed for self-defense and legal carry, the crime rates went down during the same time. The areas where more people carry guns have less crime.
When the death of George Floyd occurred, Minneapolis took actions that cut funding to their police department. They also roped in their police department and prevented them from fully-enforcing the law during riots. The result? Crime skyrocketed. The crime and violence got so bad that a large number of homeowners in Minneapolis began moving out of the state.
Assault weapons ban of 1994
in 1994, President Clinton and Congress passed an “assault weapons” ban to stop gun violence. The term assault weapon is never clearly defined, but essentially means all high capacity rifles with “tactical” features like the AR-15. The ban did not remove guns from individuals who already had them, just banned the sales assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
During the time these weapons were banned, the same number of mass shootings occurred as the time prior. There was no evidence to suggest that the ban effectively lowered gun violence.
It is also worth noting that there is no conclusive correlation between gun ownership and violent crime. Other nations have more violent crime than the United States but do not have guns.
‘stand your ground’ laws and the ‘castle doctrine’
Stand-your-ground laws gives an individual the legal ability to use deadly force when there is reason to believe it is the necessary form of defense. This is also referred to all the “no duty to retreat law.” An individual has no legal obligation to retreat from an attacker, and can discharge their weapon to use deadly force when necessary.
The Castle Doctrine is a home defense law. With this law, a person has no requirement to retreat from a threat if it is in their home. If someone is trespassing in your home and is a clear threat to you or your family member, you can use deadly force. Depending on the state, this law gives people the right to use deadly force to protect their property.
Joe Biden’s Gun Plan
“Gun violence is an epidemic in America”Joe Biden
AS A CANDIDATE
The following were proposals on Joe Biden’s website as he campaigned for President (followed by quick rebuttals):
- Hold gun manufacturers accountable for gun violence
- This one just doesn’t make sense. How is it the fault of a gunmaker if someone uses it to kill someone? That’s like suing Bud Light for getting hit by a drunk driver.
- Get “weapons of war” off our streets by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
- All weapons are a “weapon of war.” The term “assault weapon” is never clearly defined. High capacity magazines are still going to be on the streets whether you make them illegal or not.
- Regulate possession of all existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act
- The idea of a national gun registry available to the public is absurd. People have the right to privacy regarding their gun ownership
- Buy back the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines already existing from people who do not wish to register
- It is not a “buyback” if you are forcing someone to sell it to you.
- Restrict the number of firearms an individual my purchase per month to one
- This, like most of these laws, is clearly unconstitutional.
- Universal Background checks
- We already impose background checks on gun sales with FFL’s. A universal background check presumably means that background checks are included in private transactions. How will this be enforced? What about families that pass guns down from father to son?
- Individuals can be banned from owning guns for mental reasons
- This is not a bad law, but it depends how you define “mental reasons.” Should someone on low-dosage medication for depression be unable to own a gun? That seems unequal.
- End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions
- Buying a gun online already requires the seller to pick it up from a licensed dealer and pass a background check.
- Enact “Red Flag” laws
- Like the mental health laws, Red Flag laws are concerning because of the broad reasoning that can be used to restrict firearm ownership.
- Put America on the path to selling 100% “smart guns”
- “smart guns” that use fingerprints to fire are not effective and reliable yet.
- Requirements for gun storage
- If you force someone to keep their gun locked at all times, how can they use it for self-defense if someone breaks into their home at night?
- Stop “ghost guns”
- “Ghost guns” is a term used for guns built with a kit. There is no evidence that these guns are being commonly used in violent crimes. Most are made by gun hobbyists. And what about 3-D printed guns? There’s no way to stop someone from printing gun parts. If you take the blueprints off the internet, now you’re violating the first amendment.
- Prohibit the use of federal funds to arm or train educators to discharge firearms
- I understand the argument against a teacher having a gun in a classroom. But if you already train educators how to break up a fight, shouldn’t you also teach them about guns and active shooter situations?
WHILE IN OFFICE
A couple things to unpack from President Biden’s statements in April. First, President Biden repeatedly confused the name of the ATF by calling it the “AFT.” Second, his pick for ATF Director was a terrible choice. In his Congressional hearing, David Chipman failed to describe what an “assault weapon” was. This supports the growing concern that “assault weapon” will be a broad term used to ban any gun that government desires.
The common myth about first amendment regulation is that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre. Well you actually can, if there’s a fire. President Biden makes the claim that all amendments are subject to regulation. The first amendment has regulated speech. Except yelling fire in a crowded theatre is not regulated free speech. It is illegal because it’s a call to action. Regardless, the second amendment specifically has a line saying that the right “shall not be infringed.” I think making almost every gun illegal will be considered an infringement by the Supreme Court.
Another problem mentioned by President Biden is the gunshow loophole. There is no “gunshow loophole.” When you go to a gunshow, a licensed FFL dealer must issue a background check to all buyers. This comment by Biden was so untrue that Jen Psaki tried to walk back the statement.
In one of his executive orders, the President is calling for the end of stabilizing brace sales. A stabilizing brace is exactly what it sounds like; it is a brace used to stabilize the gun and make it easier to fire. Like everything he has proposed, there is no evidence it is a factor in large-scale gun crime. The argument is that it make the gun more accurate, and thus “more deadly.” If you want accidental gun deaths to go down, it is not wise to ban things that make guns more precise, This doesn’t save lives in mass shootings. Instead, it makes guns harder to shoot for average Americans. And what about disabled citizens and/or the elderly? A brace will help them hold a gun. How is that fair to their right for self-defense?
Everything President Biden said here is wrong. First of all, crime is not down. We’ve seen the last two years flood our streets with rioting and looting. We’ve also seen cities like San Francisco stop enforcing theft that is less than $950.
Stating that the ATF will go after gun shops that sell firearms to criminals is understandable. Except that is already illegal. If we want to enforce the law that is fine, but there is no evidence it is happening widescale.
Biden also said that a pistol can fire 120 shots. There are no pistols that do that. the President continues to make inaccurate statements about guns, then claim he wants to ban them. The Democratic Party used to say that they are only in favor of banning “assault rifles” and not handguns. But in this town hall and other public addresses, the President has spoken more about banning pistols. Essentially what the President is saying is that handguns should be illegal.
In President’s Biden assault weapons ban, gunowners that own an outlawed gun have two options. The first option would be to turn it in to the ATF and received financial compensation (that will most likely be less than the gun is worth). The second option would be to file 13-pages of paperwork including fingerprinting, register your guns in a public registry, and pay $200 for every gun and every additional magazine that holds more than ten rounds. Therefore, if you had two rifles and four 20-round magazines, you would have to pay the government $1,200 just to keep your guns. People nearby will also know that you have those guns and where you store them, making you vulnerable to theft. You even will have to keep the guns locked up at all times.
This proposal creates a system where the rich get to keep their guns and the poor don’t. How can the President’s party claim to be fighting the rich and helping the poor if they want to enact policies like this?
Does President Biden know how many people are SAVED every year by guns? The CDC estimates that the number is anywhere between 500,000 and 3,000,000. That is not just referring to firing a weapon; crime can also be prevented by simply brandishing your gun.
One of the biggest reasons the second amendment was written was for citizens to be able to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. It is this reason that civilians at the time had the right to the same weapons of the military (including cannons). In today’s world, people laugh at the idea of people arming themselves in fear of the government. But you just have to open a history book to understand that it was always a concern. Do you think that if Germany invaded the U.S. during World War II it would have been easy considering there’s a gun in a majority of homes? Or what about rice farmers in Vietnam essentially winning a war against the U.S. military in the 1960’s and the 1970’s? Regardless, hearing the government laugh at this idea and implying that the government would use F-15’s and nuclear weapons on its own people in the event of a revolution is MORE of an incentive to own a firearm.
There is a huge disconnect between people like Joe Biden and the average American. When you are a celebrity or a politician, it’s easy to call for gun bans. Those people are surrounded by armed security every minute of the day. The hypocrisy even extends to Joe Biden’s family. Hunter Biden got away with illegal gun ownership. He lied on his background check about his history of drug use and illegally obtained a gun. The only reason he isn’t in jail right now is because his father is Joe Biden. Is the President okay with gun laws applying to everyone but his son?
A gun ban on a national stage does not make sense either. Lifestyles between rural and urban Americans are incredibly different. If you live in the middle of a major city, the police response time is relative quick compared to a rural home. If you need the police on your property in the middle of the Midwest, it may take 30 minutes for an officer to drive to you. Gun needs are different depending on the state you live in. The party calling for a gun ban is also calling for the abolishment of the police. How is that going to work?
The needs of states are different, that’s why they have their own gun laws. Governor of Texas Greg Abbott says that if a gun ban is passed, he will make Texas a sanctuary State for guns. This is a great move. If Democratically-governed cities can be sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants, then Republican States should come out and announce they will not enforce an unconstitutional gun ban. The best way to solve debates between the left and right is to leave issues up to the State. If you don’t like your state laws, you can move to one that more common aligns with your beliefs. That’s how States were intended to be.
The disconnect between politicians and everyday Americans is a big reason why they never get the gun terminology right. Politicians are constantly using incorrect terms regarding guns because they’ve never taken the time to look into the product they are trying to ban. They have security and live in luxury. There’s at least a level of respect of a politician who understands guns, went through the buying process, and went through firearm training sessions.
There is no evidence that shows any of Joe Biden’s major gun policies will save lives. Instead, they will create a bigger black market system for guns and hurt law abiding citizens. If we institute a nationwide gun ban, we are turning millions of Americans into felons overnight. People will be afraid to use there guns for defense, while criminals continue to break the law. Gun crime will continue, and more innocent people will die. The real solution? More policing. But the left doesn’t want to consider that.