“What if we took some of the fear and desire for safety that animates the call for extreme vetting of refugees from the Middle East and turned that energy into a call for extreme vetting of those who want to purchase firearms?” chicagotribune.com columnist Eric Zorn asks. And the answer is . . .
Hawaii. A state so zealous in its vetting procedures that it hasn’t issued a concealed carry license since the year 2000. (Say aloha to gun rights in the Aloha State.) New York City is similarly “extreme,” saving concealed carry licenses for celebrities and wealthy, politically connected residents (e.g., President Trump). New Jersey? Same difference.
Mr. Zorn’s call for “extreme vetting” for all gun purchases and transfers reflects his inability to separate wishful thinking — a hope that “keeping guns out of the wrong hands” would reduce Chicago’s carnage — from the proven reality of its implementation (disarming law-abiding citizens). So we could call him a misguided fantasist. But what are we to make of this?
I know it’s not quite fair to attack the irresponsible use of guns by additionally burdening responsible users. Eighty percent or more of those who use guns in crimes did not purchase them through conventional legal means, according to research analyzed by PolitiFact in 2015. The evildoers borrowed them, stole them or purchased them on the black market.
And I know our criminal justice system needs to get tougher on those who use or carry guns illegally.
But I also know that we’re not going to arrest and imprison our way out of this problem, and that gun violence is much less severe in countries that aren’t awash in firearms.
So “universal background checks” are unfair and ineffective, but the Windy City should institute universal gun registration because England. Or Sweden. Or someplace like that (rather than, say, Mexico, where civilians are defenseless against rape, robbery, kidnapping, torture, extortion and murder).
For anyone familiar with the term, that’s not a good example of what passes for logic. It’s emotion [poorly] wrapped in the mantle of logic in a self-serving attempt to appear reasonable. Sane, if you will.
But Mr. Zorn isn’t sane about gun rights or gun control. As we can see from the third plank of his program (after universal background checks and microstamping):
Purchase limits. No one’s right to keep and bear arms would be meaningfully infringed by restrictions on the creation of home arsenals that are vulnerable to theft and that facilitate illicit private sales by straw purchasers.
If you squint hard enough, the first part of Mr. Zorn’s rationale for limiting the number of guns American should be able to own almost makes sense. The more guns someone owns, the more guns there are to steal.
Setting aside the fact that any such ban would be a clear infringement on Americans’ Constitutionally protected right to keep arms, setting aside the enforcement implications (“Hello Mr. Johnson, we’re here to check your “arsenal”), how does the number of guns owned increase their vulnerability to theft?
Surely firearms security has more to do with how the guns are secured — the efficacy of which can only be encouraged not mandated (safe storage laws don’t work). And with stopping people from stealing guns by keeping criminals under lock and key. Known criminals.
What kind of country limits citizens’ ability to purchase legal items? A country run by people who think that restricting legal firearms purchases would limit the number of illegal purchases. Crazy people. To be more charitable, stupid people.
That could well be a distinction without a difference. The only other possibility: gun control advocates are crazy like a fox. They know that their goals would lead to a police state or worse, and hide their true intentions under the guise of public safety.
I like to believe that isn’t true, at least for the majority of gun control proponents. But then I like to believe my third and final wife will be an Israeli supermodel. Go figure.