Common Sense Makes No Sense
Does the frequency of gun ownership have anything to do with the murder rate? According to statistics available online, 60 percent of the residents of the state of Wyoming own guns. In 2015 Wyoming’s per capita murder rate was 2.7 per 100,000 residents, which puts it about 40th in the per capita murder rate in the United States. Washington, D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States. Its murder rate (in 2015) was 24.2 per 100,000—the highest rate in the country. The next highest murder rate (again in 2015) was Louisiana, which had 10.3 murders per 100,000. With its stringent gun laws our nation’s capital manages to have a murder rate about twice that of any other jurisdiction in the United States.
Now comes Sen. Martin Heinrich’s call for more gun control laws— “common sense reforms” he calls them [Alibi, v27 i10]. He wants expanded background checks. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics about 230,000 firearms are stolen every year. None of these thefts underwent background checks and all of these stolen firearms could be used in a crime. Will expanded background checks reduce the crimes committed with stolen firearms?
The good senator calls for limiting magazine capacity. This will accomplish nothing. With a little practice any shooter can change magazines in about two seconds. He wants to crack down on straw man purchases. I could go along with this, because straw man purchases are a form of fraud. But—if a shooter can’t make a straw man purchase, can’t he just as easily steal a gun, buy one from a private seller, or get one off the black market? Heinrich wants to keep people on the “No Fly” list from buying guns. Regardless of someone’s presence on the “No Fly” list, if he wants a gun he’s going to obtain one. I can accept Sen. Heinrich’s proposal to repeal the Dickey Amendment (that bans tax funding of research on gun violence). There is no reason to keep this law on the books.
Perhaps a little more to the point in all of the demands for gun legislation, Congress has the ultimate control over the governing of our nation’s capitol. If Congress can’t control crime in its own back yard, why should we believe Congress can control crime anywhere, or with any gun laws?