So today, I was browsing the final report from the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission that was released on Friday. Basically, I wanted to see if the commission, which was formed in the wake of the mass shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, would recommend any real solutions that would reduce gun-related violence.
I was curious, would the commission take an objective approach and do some actual research into the relationship between guns and crime or would it start with the mindset that ‘guns are evil and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners should be limited in every way possible but not totally restricted as we need to have some plausible deniability should someone (justifiably) accuse us of having a pathological hatred for one’s Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.’
After reading the report, it’s quite clear that the commission took the latter approach. It didn’t investigate the relationship between gun ownership and crime rates. I say that because had it really examined the facts the commission would have recognized some basic truths that the vast majority of gun owners are aware of:
1. There are more good guys with guns than bad guys with guns.
2. Good guys use guns to thwart crime more frequently than bad guys use guns to commit crime.
3. More guns does not increase crime rates.
4. Expanding concealed carry rights has the potential to reduce crime rates.
5. “Shall not be infringed” means something!
Being mindful of these truths, there’s no way that an intellectually honest commission would put forth 18 recommendations targeting gun ownership. While I’m not going to discuss all 18, here is a list of the top five dumbest in my opinion:
RECOMMENDATION NO. 2. Require registration, including a certificate of registration, for every firearm. This certificate of registration should be issued subsequent to the completion of a background check and is separate and distinct from a permit to carry.
WHY IT’S DUMB: Well, this is not only dumb, it’s dangerous. David Kopel, in an article for the NRA’s 1st Freedom, does a pretty good job explaining why a registration mandate is a horrible idea.
“In truth, gun registration would have done absolutely nothing to stop the Sandy Hook murderer who killed his mother and stole her lawfully purchased firearms. Nor would it have stopped the killer who attacked Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, or the Virginia Tech murderer, both of whom bought their guns in stores,” wrote Kopel.
“But gun registration is very good for one thing—confiscation,” he continued. “And even more immediately, gun registration is ideal to bolster the quickly growing public persecution of gun owners.”
RECOMMENDATION NO. 4. Institute a ban on the sale, possession, or use of any magazine or ammunition feeding device in excess of 10 rounds except for military and police use. In proposing this recommendation, the Commission recognized that certain sporting events at times involve the use of higher capacity magazines. However, the consensus of the Commission was that the spirit of sportsmanship can be maintained with lower capacity magazines.
WHY IT’S DUMB: First off, how many of the members on the Commission are true sportsmen? How many have attended competitions and shoot on a regular basis? My guess would be zero. So, what we have here is a bunch of imbeciles making judgments about an activity they know nothing about. To draw a random analogy, it’s as if an NBA panel ruled that the spirit of professional basketball could be maintained without the three-point line. It’s ridiculous. Games evolve! So do shooting sports!
There is a whole constitutional component to this as well, which is magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition are commonly owned and widely popular, suggesting that any limits on their possession would be considered unreasonable under the Constitution (Scalia touches on this below, in an oblique way).
RECOMMENDATION NO. 9. Limit the amount of ammunition that can be purchased at any given time.
WHY IT’S DUMB: What the hell is this going to do? As it’s been said a million times before, criminals will find a way to obtain arms and ammo.
But even if you don’t believe in that cliche, consider what Criminologist James Alan Fox had to say on the ability for mass killers to stockpile equipment in preparation for an attack.
“Most mass killers kill people they know, with a clear-cut motive. They typically plan their crimes in advance, often weeks or months in advance. They are calm, deliberate and determined to get justice for what they perceive to be unfair treatment,” Fox told The Daily Beast.
In a Boston.com article, Fox discussed how gun laws will not stop a determined sociopath from attempting to take innocent lives.
“Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally,” wrote Fox.
“People simply cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner,” he continued. “Besides, would-be mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.”
RECOMMENDATION NO. 10. Prohibit the possession, sale or transfer of any firearm capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading. This prohibition would extend to military-style firearms as well as handguns. Law enforcement and military would be exempt from this ban.
WHY IT’S DUMB: Basically what they’re saying is that any semiautomatic handgun or long gun that can accept a detachable magazine should be banned. It’s crazy. But short of completely disarming America, it’s the wet dream of gun control advocates and government elites. They would love nothing more than to see a populace that was relegated to limited-capacity firearms vis a vis Europe or Australia.
And much like the argument I made with the magazines, banning these firearms is a constitutionally dubious proposition as well. Semi-automatic weapons are commonly owned and widely popular. The AR-15 have been America’s most popular rifle for years now. It’s only a matter of time before the Supreme Court makes it clear that banning such firearms is unconstitutional.
RECOMMENDATION NO. 17. Any person seeking a license to sell, purchase or carry any type of firearm in the state should be required to pass a suitability screening process.
WHY IT’S DUMB: What the hell is a “suitability screening process”? I’ll tell you what it is, it’s an arbitrary means by which the government can deny one his or her Second Amendment rights.
Provided a license applicant is not a “prohibited persons” (felon, minor, mental defective, domestic abuser, etc.), there is no reason for that individual to be denied a permit. Plain and simple.
Yet, the commission believes that one must be subjected to a whole evaluation process, which would include a “mental health test,” before one is “fit” to carry a firearm. Absurd!
I thought these were the five dumbest recommendations. Though, I could easily be wrong. There were some other daisies included on the list as well, from more registration schemes to bullet engraving to background checks, among others. I’m not sure how much time the commission put into drafting the 277-page report. But I can tell you that it was a utter and complete waste of time.
Stopping crime starts with the family. If we want a safer America, we need smarter parents. We need parents who are willing to actually raise their children, not merely bring them into existence. Were we as a society to solve this dilemma we’d drastically reduce crime rates. Perhaps that’s what this commission should have focused on.
Yet, no matter what we do, evil will still exist. Consequently, free people need a means to protect themselves from evil people and evil governments. Our founders and framers were keenly aware this truth, which is why we have a Second Amendment. It’s too bad that the commission is either too blind, too lazy or too ideologically driven to recognize that too.