The Solution to Criminals who Ignore the Existing Laws: More Laws?

One of the biggest flaws with the idea of gun control is that it relies upon criminals obeying the law, when we know that criminals will, by definition, ignore the law, since that is what makes them criminals.  Some recent Brady Campaign propaganda, from their president Paul Helmke, underscores this logical flaw in the gun control argument:

“Oakland Police Sergeants Mark Dunakin, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai and Officer John Hege will be laid to rest today in California. They paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duty: to keep the streets safe for the people of Oakland and the Bay area. Our sympathies and prayers go the families and friends of these gun violence victims. We are terribly sorry for their loss.

“It was wrong that a brutal killer and convicted felon was able to arm himself with a military-style semiautomatic assault weapon.? It is wrong that our Nation’s weak and nearly non-existent gun laws make these deadly weapons so easily available to dangerous people. We owe it to these law enforcement officers to do what police leaders across America have been urging and do more to keep these weapons off our streets and out of the hands of dangerous people.”

  • Firstly, the shooter who killed these officers was a convicted felon, which made it a federal crime for him to own or even touch a gun.  But for someone who is willing to murder cops, violating the law against gun ownership for convicted felons is no big deal.
  • Secondly, as a convicted felon, it was a crime in the state of California for the shooter to own or touch a gun, but this state law was no more effective at deterring a person willing to murder.
  • Thirdly, California has a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” which include the type of gun used by the shooter.  As such it was another felony offense for the shooter to possess this gun, but once again the criminally minded killer had no problem breaking the law.
  • Fourthly, it is a serious felony to murder anyone, especially a police officer.  Yet this law also failed to prevent the shooter from murdering these cops.  Given that murder is the most severely punished law in our society, it defies logic to think that someone willing to break this law would be unwilling to break any other law.
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The fact is that criminals who want guns will get them, whether they steal a gun from the police, smuggle guns into the country, or manufacture their own guns.  Gun control laws only serve to disarm the law abiding citizens, ensuring that they are defenseless against the still-armed criminals.

Indeed, when citizens are armed, they are often able to not only defend themselves, but to also help the police when a violent criminal attacks.  Although we’ll never know for sure, it is possible that these four cops might still be alive if an armed citizen had been able to help save their lives.

While my point here is that gun control laws don’t deter criminals, I would like to just briefly point out the factual inaccuracies in Mr. Helmke’s assertions that our nation has “nearly non-existent” gun laws, and that law enforcement supports more gun control laws.  Firstly, our country has thousands of gun control laws at the federal, state, and local level.  These laws are extensive, overlapping, and rather restrictive for law abiding citizens (but not for criminals, who just ignore the laws).  Secondly, law enforcement does not uniformly want more gun control laws.  Instead, opinions on this matter are varried, and many law enforcement officials support greater gun rights.

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My thanks to Anders for pointing out Paul Helmke’s anti gun propaganda statements.