I have found a few basic truths through more than twenty years of pro-Second Amendment activism. I have found that those people who support efforts to control firearm ownership, use, transportation and sales, are generally decent and caring people who want to do something about violent crime, but really don't have a sound foundation of knowledge to pull from.
Most people who aren't familiar with guns and lawful gun owners, get most of their firearm related knowledge from the entertainment and news industries. The Three Stooges was hilarious entertainment. That group of men have entertained millions with their on screen antics, but they are not a good source of proper gun handling techniques. Likewise, neither are the latest movies being shown on the silver screen.
Thousands of times, we have seen firearms mishandled on television and in the movies. We have seen police detectives fire a snub nosed .38 Special revolver at a fleeing vehicle and have seen it explode and jump into the air. There's no wonder that millions of people fear firearms.
We human beings have always feared the unknown. It is a primal and natural human reaction to our environment. Before the 15th century, it was thought that we could sail off the edge of the Earth. Young children are often afraid of the dark because the absence of light creates an unknown.
The same principle applies to firearms, gun owners and violent crime. I have thought for decades that those who support stringent gun control laws, begin their misguided journey with a lack of knowledge about guns. This complete lack of knowledge, combined with misinformation coming from the press and the entertainment industry, leads to apprehension or animosity toward both guns and gun owners alike.
This feeling of animosity and apprehension gradually evolves into hatred and disdain of both firearms and those who lawfully and responsibly own them. I believe that is the main reason why more than half of American citizens support gun control laws.
The truth of the matter is very involved, but not really complex to comprehend and understand. Guns were invented shortly before the year 1300 A.D. Now, more than seven hundred years later, some people still fear them.
Violent crime is a problem. I won't stick my head in the sand and ignore that. You can't ignore the fact that more than 25,000 people will die this year from a combination of suicide, homicide, legal intervention and accidental discharges.
However, limiting the legitimate and proven rights of decent, law abiding and honest firearm owners will do nothing to affect those numbers. We must have legislation that affects both the criminal mind and the actual sources of firearms that are used during the commission of a crime, while leaving the honest gun owner completely out of the loop.
I call this type of legislation "Felon focused" legislation.
You might ask, "Marc, if gun control is not the answer, then what is?". I'm so glad I asked. We must create laws that will diminish the criminal's desire to use a gun to commit a crime with, as well as diminish the sources of where the felon gets his gun.
In the largest study of its kind, the U.S. Department of Justice did a survey of more than 18,000 state and federal inmates to determine where they obtained the guns they used while committing crime. Here is a brief synopsis of what they found.
- 39.6% of the guns used to commit a crime with came from friends and family members of the felon.
- 39.2% of the guns used to commit a crime with came from illegal sources, such as on the street, through the narcotics trade and through burglaries and robberies.
- 8.3% were purchased fraudulently through properly licensed retail outlets. These purchases were made by misrepresenting themselves, lying on forms and providing false identification.
- 3.8% of them were obtained through a pawn shop. Again, bought by falsifying documents and identification.
- 1.0% of the guns used during the commission of a crime came from yard sales and flea markets.
- 0.7% came from gun shows.
You can plainly see that the majority of gun control laws will not prevent violent criminals from obtaining firearms to commit a crime with. In fact, it has already been illegal since the Gun Control Act of 1968 for a felon to be in possession of a firearm anyway. Even though more than 86% of adult murderers had criminal records as adults.
In order to diminish the felon's desire to commit a crime with a firearm, we must add penalties to a crime if a gun was possessed, brandished, fired or used to injure, of 5, 10, 15 and 20 years respectively. Specifically adding serious prison time, simply for choosing a gun, is one method of what I call "Felon-focused" legislation.
Another example would be adding five years of prison time onto a robbery or burglary for each stolen firearm. Laws that are aimed at the felon alone, would be very effective and would get the stamp of approval from most gun owners.
Yet another example would be implementing serious penalites for a family member or friend of a felon for knowingly providing them with a firearm. We must focus our efforts on the actual sources of firearms used in crime and not wrongly punish the law-abiding and limit their rights under the United States Constitution.
E-mail a friend a link to my Web site!!
I want your opinions.