Guns, Gangs, and Making Crime Illegal

[This is the first post in a 5 part series] – Last week Mayor Villaraigosa, LAPD Chief Bratton and LASD Sheriff Baca endorsed four new gun control bills that were introduced at the state level. They’ve said these will help deter gang violence. The problem is that 3 of the four bills proposed will do absolutely nothing of the sort. The lone exception is a bill written by Sen. Alex Padilla of Van Nuys, which would give California law enforcement agencies access to a national database of forensic and ballistic information. This makes perfect sense and if anything it’s a shame there has to be a bill to allow something like this.

gunfreezone.jpgBefore I go any further, let’s remember that criminals are willing to break every law, ethical, social, and civil, including murder, robbery, rape, assault, etc, yet some politicians seem to think that they will comply with gun control laws, including all kinds of nit-picky technical laws about handgun safeties, magazine capacities, safe storage requirements, transportation requirements etc. Common sense tells us they won’t. Putting new restrictions on how things are bought/sold/stored/maintained only effects people who are not criminals, because criminals already don’t care about the law. If criminals aren’t paying any attention to the existing laws, why will they suddenly care about the new ones? To see this first hand you don’t have to look any further than Great Britain where handguns have been illegal for private citizens to own since 1998, yet almost 10 years later handgun crime is on the rise or Utah where last week’s mall shooting took place in a “gun free” zone. How can that be? Simple, the people who abide by these laws are not committing crimes to being with – the criminals don’t care about the laws.

Firearms are already heavily regulated, adding more rules to that is akin to making crime illegal. It’s security theater and does absolutely nothing except allow politicians to pat each other on the back. Assemblymen Mike Feuer and Kevin DeLeon, both of LA, are proposing bills which add more restrictions to what and how firearms and ammo can be sold. One of which is just a rewritten version of an incredibly stupid bill proposed last year that failed to get enough support and was dropped. Assemblyman Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys goes a step further with a bill that potentially turns crime victims into criminals themselves. Bills like this are reactionary rather than rational, but they don’t have to be. In a series of posts over the next few days I’m going to look at these bills, explain why they won’t make any difference to criminals and why they will only have a negative effect on law abiding gun owners. I’m also going to suggest other bills which would make a real difference, and would actually help make us all safer.

Other Posts In This Series
Part 2: Feuer’s Microstamping Bill Is Pointless
Part 3: California’s CCW Licenses Are Too Easy To Fake
Part 4: The Art of Turning Victims Into Criminals
Part 5: de Le√≥n’s Bill is Misdirected – Who Can Buy Ammo Is More Important

18 Replies to “Guns, Gangs, and Making Crime Illegal”

  1. Bravo Sean for putting it all in perspective. The anti-gunnies out there love rhetoric at the expense of logic. To paraphrase some comedians topical comment some 13years ago “guns don’t kill people, OJ kills people”. I can send you the sound clip if you want, but you get the point.

  2. “The anti-gunnies out there love rhetoric at the expense of logic”

    That sure is an intelligent and effective way to start a dialogue: “all those who disagree with me are illogical!”. Nice example of rhetoric.

  3. That one line “criminals are willing to break any law” is not true. Someone who is a burglar isn’t a rapist. Someone who shoplifts isn’t an armed robber. Someone who commits assault isn’t a pot smoker. These are all crimes, but they are different crimes, and different criminals.

    The second part of that paragraph, that the criminals won’t care about the details of the law, is true, but the laws in question don’t seem to regulate technical aspects of guns. They seem to be mostly about tracking who has possession of guns. You’re not even criticizing the right flaws in the law.

    It would have been good if you could supply links to the bill texts, or to stories with some kind of summary about the bills. Instead, you provide a link to an irrelevant bill you deride. Here are some relevant links:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_248&sess=CUR&house=B&author=padilla

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_334&sess=CUR&house=B&author=levine

    (the Feuer and DeLeon bills aren’t up yet)

    http://www.nbc4.tv/news/11027241/detail.html?subid=10101581

    http://lapdblog.typepad.com/lapd_blog/2007/02/city_county_and.html

    http://www.gunguys.com/?p=1904 (anti-gun site)

    Last – that link to the story about gun crime in England says several times that it’s on the decline there. People there just want them as status symbols, like in America.

    Given that you can barely write a paragraph without factual (and grammatical) errors, I’m ready to dismiss your entire argument out of hand. However, I will give you some “ammo” with another reason why these laws are possibly bad:

    The main problems with these laws, is, in the event of a national insurrection, when popular, clandestine armies form to overthrow the government, these proposed technologies will be used to track down the revolutionaries, and assassinate them. When people purchase guns, or are associated with guns that stamp shells with serial numbers, the state will fabricate “evidence” linking these people with specific uprising — and they will be executed.

    These new information and tracking technologies may become potential businesses for various war-technology companies that supply arms to governments seeking to repress their populations further.

  4. “It would have been good if you could supply links to the bill texts, or to stories with some kind of summary about the bills. Instead, you provide a link to an irrelevant bill you deride.”

    Perhaps you missed the point in the above post that this is just the introduction to a series of posts where I’d be going into specific detail about the bills in question. I haven’t gotten into the bills yet, so giving links at this point would just be confusing. I’ll be sure to supply tons of links when they are relevant.

  5. [This is the first post in a 5 part series]

    No, this is the hundred-fiftieth post in an ‘as long as sean bonner has a blog’ series.

    gunblogging.la, seriously.

  6. Um…so serial numbers sounds like a good thing. My Dad has had guns stolen when their house got burglarized and once from his bank safety deposit and the guns when found were returned. Tracking down some terrorist through a sale of ammo isn’t a bad thing either. Guns are just a tool and is a man that determines how they are used. Personally I was fond of them for clay pigeons when I was a kid.

  7. Frazgo and JK…

    You are both missing the meat of this discussion.

    JK…the point SB was making is that criminals are called criminals for a reason…introducing another law to the already 20,000 gun laws out there in the USA is not going to be any more effective to a criminal than the past 20,000 have been. The ONLY person they affect are the law abiding person…A burlgar is not stopped from raping because he believes that the gun laws are an effective deterrent, he doesn’t rape because thats not his cup of tea…

    Frazgo, a national database of serial numbers is good for one thing, it shows where the gun originated from, and might help get it back to the owner. Frankly, and this would have to be confirmed by someone in the know, but I believe most folks who use illegal guns for criminal purposes file off the numbers, making that redundante.

    The one thing that is REALLY scary is one of the bills introduced deals with microstamping, and the second deals with limitations on ammo purchases.

    I shoot about 1000 rounds/month. I believe as a gun owner, that I need to make sure that I am competent with my gun in as many scenarios as possible. My goal is to NOT hit innocent bystanders. Ammo purchase limits will increase the number of people who reload. Couple that with microstamping, and now you have people picking up brass with MY serial numbers on them and reloading.

    So what happens if this legislation passes is that I am now forced by the government to incriminated myself, which I am protected against in by the 5th amendment. The 2nd Amendment gives me the right to own firearms, and the 5th gives me the right against self incrimination.

    Microstamping will be an illegal law, and will lose in a constitutional court.

  8. I’m glad someone pointed out the mistake in painting all criminals with such broad strokes. There certainly are degrees to criminality – that’s why we have sentencing options, otherwise we’d kill everyone the first time they shoplifted a candy bar, right? Why wouldn’t we since, if they will shoplift, they will also murder.

    Not so much.

    In case that point isn’t clear enough – note the existance of special needs yards in prisons, where some of the population is necessarily separated from the general population. Because the guys in for grand theft auto or drug running don’t like thinking about kiddie killers or molesters getting ahold of their families on the outside – so if they meet one, it’s shank time and we don’t officially condone vigilantes within prisons.

    I like the thought of an open dialogue on gun issues in a highly urban, densly populated state like California, but I think starting it off with such an erroneous presumption doesn’t do the effort any favors. So pick your target criminals here. They can be perpetrators of gun violence (murderers, terrorists, whatever) or they can be all criminals. But if they are all criminals, I think you’ll lose your fight in the long run.

    (An aside: since you espoused your dislike of political contact – phone or snail mail, etc – and said you’d specifically vote against anyone who invaded your inbox or voicemail, I will forever find it amusing when you post about political issues, since I have the urge to oppose you anyway, just to play by your rules. ;) I keed, I keed.)

  9. “I’m glad someone pointed out the mistake in painting all criminals with such broad strokes. There certainly are degrees to criminality”

    CD, looks like you and SensFan posted almost at the same time but he answered your point here very well, my point is that criminals on a whole don’t care about the law, someone who breaks one set of laws but not others isn’t stopping because of effective gun control, they are stopping because that’s where their interest ends. The only people who care about the new laws are the ones who already care about the old ones.

    And on your aside, the difference, clearly, is this is solicitation – I don’t make the choice to listen to someone calling my house or make the choice to receive their mailers, you do make the choice to read a website. I read a lot of political sites, from all sides of the issues, the point is I want to make the decision what I read.

  10. I still think you’d be best served to drop the generalizations on what “criminals” will or will not do – and focus on gun-related crime statistics. Whatever a petty crook does and what he does or doesn’t know about gun laws are likely completely unrelated sets of facts. And while gun-toting criminals may not be swayed by the laws on the books – they can be charged with those laws later, perhaps to a more effective end.

    There are more areas than just gun laws where innocent parties end up harmed by laws more than, it seems, would be criminals (ie: immigration laws, of which I am keenly aware) – and it is always a sucky-ass situation. I just think here we run the risk of discussion via anecdote when there’s a broader, more compelling topic that you’ve started.

    (And I will always disagree with your stance on political mail and phone calls. I have no problem with anyone saying “no thank you” and hanging up, or binning the mailers – but taking such offense that you say you’ll vote against anyone making the effort to reach out to you . . . that’s just crazy talk to me, man. Websites aren’t necessarily less self-interested and biased just because they don’t arrive in your mailbox. A source is a source – and you, as you state here, are clearly able to differentiate and account for them.)

  11. “And while gun-toting criminals may not be swayed by the laws on the books – they can be charged with those laws later, perhaps to a more effective end.”

    Which cuts straight to the heart of this – As I’ll cover in my future posts on this, criminals are already obtaining guns through illegal means, and obtaining illegal guns at that. So adding more restrictions to what guns can be sold in the state will not prevent crime as they are being touted to do, but will instead only restrict that law abiding citizens can and can’t buy so that someone can tack on yet another charge to someone already breaking existing laws later on. As a law abiding citizen, it annoys me to no end that I have to pay the cost, and suffer the restrictions not to prevent crime, but so that someone who is going to commit a crime no matter what can be charged with 6 things rather than 5.

  12. How much are you going to really suffer? I mean really suffer, not suffer in an academic, you can take our whatever but you’ll never take our freedoms, kind of way?

    Is it a hypothetical problem: ie: someday you won’t be able to get the kind of gun you might want, but don’t want right now? Or just a 2d amendment protectionist reaction?

    That’s an honest question, not a sarcastic one. I know you like guns, but I don’t know what kind or what you might want to own or currently own that would be affected by the propsed laws.

  13. Wow this thread is a lively one.

    Microstamping would likely stand up in court just as VIN on our cars,the license plate numbers on our cars or Serial numbers on Tires and anything else that is monitored for potential govt recall and owner contact.

    If you aren’t doing anything wrong, microstamping should be a concern.

    The scenario regarding some taking empty shells and reloading is interesting. Who cares? If it is reloaded and used in a criminal, terrorist activity you would be able to tell them where you were….shooting range whatever and the investigating body can simply start looking around that area for suspects. Doesn’t mean you are blamed just gives them a starting point to look for suspects.

  14. “Microstamping would likely stand up in court just as VIN on our cars”

    Guns already have serial numbers which are akin to VIN numbers, microstamping would be more like if you were required to install a device in your car that stamped a serial number on every piece of trash created in your car so that in case you ever littered they’d be able to track the garbage back to you, but if you throw your trash away like you are supposed to and someone else knocks over the trash cash with your stamped trash in it your door is going to get knocked on. Oh yeah, and the device to stamp your trash doesn’t exist.

  15. Frazgo

    The issue with microstamping is that you don’t have to do anything wrong for it to come back and bite you in the ass. In order to save money, many shooters “Reload” which means they take old, spent brass that they pick up at the range, buy the poweder, caps and bullets separately, and make thier own bullets.

    If your gun microstamps on a casing, then the guy who picks up your spent brass will now have a casing with your guns unique identifier on it.

    Now if he were a criminal, and decided to shoot someone and leaves the brass behind, then my “fingerprints” will be left at the scene of the crime.

    This is why it would be inadmissible. It proves nothing except that my gun fired that casing once.

    All it will take is one murder to occur using spent brass from a person who was undeniably many miles away with many witnesses and that piece of bad legislation will never be allowed as evidence.

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