Can we have gun laws that don't infringe on law-abiding citizens?
The debate about whether or not gun laws reduce crime has raged on for decades.
Opponents of gun control believe that every gun law is ultimately intended to disarm the American people and confiscate their guns. Their opposition to gun laws can generally be broken down into two main arguments:
1. Gun laws only affect law-abiding citizens.
2. Gun laws won’t affect criminals because criminals don’t obey the law.
Advocates of gun control measures, however, tend to believe just the opposite, that we can do a lot to keep guns out of the hands of criminals without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. They believe that certain gun laws have been proven to lower crime and reduce the likelihood of mass-casualty shootings when they are enforced evenly across the entire country.
These Six Laws Make it Much Harder for Criminals to Get a Gun Without Infringing on the Rights of Legal Gun Owners.
The six proposals listed below will stop criminals from getting deadly weapons without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
1. Universal Background Checks
Universal background checks enable law-abiding citizens to own a gun, but prevent convicted felons and other prohibited people from being able to buy a firearm at a gun store.
After the Brady law was enacted in 1994, mandating background checks on a nationwide basis, the rates of murder and violent crime – which peaked in the early 90s – dropped dramatically and continued to drop steadily every year for more than a decade.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the background checks mandated by the Brady Law put thousands of convicted felons back in prison for violating their parole by attempting to buy a gun.
There are some loopholes in the Brady Law that enable people to skirt this law and buy guns without a background check. There are currently bills being introduced in Congress to close these loopholes.
2. One-Gun-A-Month Laws
The purpose of a one gun a month law is to cut off the supply of guns to the illegal gun trafficking industry. This is where many criminals get their firearms.
Illegal gun traffickers hire straw buyers (people with no criminal record who can legally buy a gun) to buy lots of guns in states that have lax gun laws. Those guns are then resold illegally to people who cannot buy a gun legally. This illegal gun market is a big reason why criminals have such easy access to guns in the US.
Some years ago, when law enforcement officials in New York City traced the origin of guns used in crimes there, they determined that a lot of those guns came illegally from the state of Virginia. After Virginia passed a one-gun-a-month law, the number of guns used in New York City crimes that came from Virginia dropped dramatically. That law cut off one of the primary sources of guns for the illegal gun industry in New York.
If a one-gun-a-month law was enacted on a nationwide basis, it would dramatically reduce the number of illegal guns on the black market and cut off the supply of guns to many criminals. Yet it would not stop lawful gun owners from buying a gun.
3. Limits on gun magazine capacity
Some mass shootings have only been stopped when the shooter had to stop to reload. When shooters can fire 50 or 100 rounds before reloading, it enables them to kill more innocent people before someone has a chance to stop them.
A limit on magazine capacity would not prevent lawful gun owners from acquiring firearms or ammunition legally. It would be hard to argue why a 50 or 100 round magazine would be needed by the general public for the purpose of hunting or self-defense. Even Police officers, whose lives are on the line every day, do not tend to use guns that have such a large capacity.
- Link - Woman describes stopping gunman while he was reloading. / ABC News
Patricia Maisch wrestled a magazine of bullets away from the Tucson shooter to prevent more carnage.
4. Prohibit conversion kits that enable a semi-automatic weapon to become fully automatic
Fully automatic weapons have been illegal nationwide for many decades. Bump-stocks and other conversion kits enable a semi-automatic weapon to become fully automatic. In 2017, a bump-stock device enabled a single shooter in Las Vegas to kill 59 people and injure 422 others.
Since fully automatic weapons have long been illegal nationwide, a prohibition on these conversion kits could not infringe on anyone’s rights. There is no justification for keeping this type of product on the market.
5. Prohibit the sale of armor-piercing bullets
Armor-piercing bullets can easily penetrate bullet-proof vests worn by police officers, which is why they’re often called “cop-killer bullets”.
Firearms were the leading cause of death for police officers in 2018. Armor-piercing bullets have been used by criminals to shoot through bullet proof vests and kill police officers.
There is, undoubtedly, a great deal of ammunition that can be purchased for the purpose of hunting or target shooting that does not penetrate body armor. It is hard to conceive of any scenario where a hunter or other gun owner would have much use for armor-piercing bullets if they don’t intend to shoot someone wearing a bullet-proof vest.
- Link - Cop Killer used Armor Piercing bullets to Target Police Officers / KESQ
A trial date was expected to be set Friday for a man accused of fatally shooting two Palm Springs police officers in 2016.
6. Keep firearms out of the hands of people convicted of domestic abuse
An alarming percentage of murders and violent crimes fall under the heading of domestic abuse or domestic violence. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the likelihood of a fatality by 500%. On average, 50 women are shot to death by their husband or significant other every month in the US. Preventing domestic abusers from getting a gun could be one of the most important steps in stopping such a tragedy.
- Link - Guns and Domestic Violence
When it comes to gun violence against women, the United States is the most dangerous country in the developed world.
Here's The Bottom Line
Nobody expects criminals to obey the law. These regulations simply take away many opportunities from criminals to get access to a firearm.
Each of the proposals listed above have these things in common:
1) They have been proven to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
2) They do not inhibit the rights of law abiding citizens.
3) They are supported by a huge majority of the American people, including gun owners.
The bottom line is simply this: We can reduce gun violence by making it much harder for criminals to acquire firearms, while enabling law-abiding citizens to continue having the same access they have always had.
Questions & Answers
Question: The one you have neglected to include, which is perhaps among the three most important, is a total ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons. Why have you failed to include this?
Answer: That's a valid question. The purpose of this article was to show gun owners that there are gun laws which reduce crime but do not infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. The gun laws mentioned in this article do exactly that. At the same time, I wanted to avoid any mention of gun laws that ban guns because that would completely freak out a large segment of the gun-owning population who believe all gun laws lead to gun confiscation.
I agree that there is merit to banning military-style weapons, but for the purpose of this article, I felt it was important to focus on very effective gun laws which can and do reduce crime but do not in any way infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
© 2019 jeff61b
JOC from Syracuse, NY on February 24, 2019:
Interesting read based on a solid factual ground.
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on February 21, 2019:
You are reasonable and factual. You'll get eaten alive with these arguments. If people wanted to be reasonable and factual, all your points would already be in place.
We are the worst industrialized country in the world when in comes to guns by a long shot. Too many people want it this way or we would simply do what other countries have done successfully.
But great article.
CJ Kelly from the PNW on February 21, 2019:
Great job and excellent points. Good use of stats. Keep up the good work.