Following the January 8th shooting in Tucson, an understandable discomfort swept through the American populace. Jared Loughner had killed six people in cold blood, which means six families were irreversibly changed in an instant. Yet while the discomfort is understandable, many of the suggestions for how to prevent the re-occurrence of such a crime have not been.
This is mainly because the majority of suggestions have included some mention of new gun control measures, whether they are tied to guns themselves or to the magazines used to hold bullets in semi-automatic pistols. Worst of all, these suggestions are being pawned off on the American people as a way for the government to keep us safe.
Have we not yet existed long enough as a nation to know that the government cannot keep us safe under any and every circumstance? Are we not lucid enough as citizens to know that any new government involvement in our lives will diminish our liberties, even if safety is the proposed aim?
Therefore, we should always be wary when politicians are quick to pounce on disaster for political gain as was seen in the aftermath of Tucson.
Since January 8th, members of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (MAIG) have been among the most vocal pushing for new gun control legislation. One of the members of that group, Carolyn Comitta, mayor of West Chester, PA, said as much when she posited partial blame for the shooting on a “lack of common sense gun laws.”
In March 2009, my Pajamas Media article, “Common Sense Gun Laws: Obama’s Attack on the Second Amendment,” highlighted the manner in which such laws serve as a subterfuge by which the Second Amendment can be skirted, thus opening the door for the government to pass new laws infringing on the very rights our Founders declared should not be infringed upon.
In 2011, as in 2009, the key to understanding the revived push for “common sense gun laws” can be found in the way Mayor Bloomberg implies over and again that there aren’t enough regulations on gun purchases, while MAIG explicitly states that the Tucson shooting was the outgrowth of “insufficient regulations,” among other things. Because more regulations are the real substance of “common sense gun laws,” the push for more such laws should send shudders down the spine of every freedom-loving American. For they entail nothing less than further encroachment into our lives by a government that has taken to itself the extra-constitutional job of babysitting us and looking out for our good — Founders’ intents be damned.
I wonder if Bloomberg, Comitta, and the rest of MAIG have ever really asked themselves this hard question: How many more regulations can be placed upon guns? The idea that they’re not already hyper-regulated is laughable to anyone who has ever tried to buy a handgun in a state in which they aren’t a resident, or walked into the gun store three blocks from home and tried to buy one, or driven across certain state lines with one in the car.
For example, it’s illegal to make a new handgun purchase in any state other than the one in which you’re a resident, unless you purchase it over the internet, have it shipped to a firearms dealer in your state, then go through a background check with that dealer and pay a processing fee for his involvement. And if you walk into a gun store in your town or city, federal regulations require that you go through an “instant background check” that can take up to three government business days. (Only in federal government lingo can three government business days equal “instant.”)
And when driving, many states have extensive regulations they’ve placed upon guns over and above what the federal government has put in place. Thus, if you drive from a gun friendly state like Missouri, where you can keep a loaded handgun in your car for protection, into a state like Obama’s old stomping ground, Illinois, you’ve got to pull over, unload the gun, take it apart, and store it in a locked container away from the ammunition while you’re in that state.
What additional regulation would Bloomberg and Comitta place here? Should gun owners be required to store each part of the gun in a separate container while driving through states like Illinois? Is that the missing regulation that will lead to peace on earth and good will among men?
What is really common sense about this issue is the fact that criminals will be criminals, no matter how burdensome the regulations become on law-abiding citizens. Thus, more “common sense gun laws” will only mean fewer law abiding citizens keeping and bearing arms, which in turn, will make the road for the next Loughner a little bit easier to tread.