The editorial board at the New York Times is pissed. They thought President Obama would be their knight in shining armor for enacting ever more draconian and nonsensical gun control laws. Unfortunately the pesky Congress has gotten in the way time and again to prevent much of anything from happening. It’s almost as if will of the American people conflicts with The Times’ preferences…but that can’t possibly be because the Grey Lady stocks her editorial staff almost exclusively with morally and intellectually superior individuals. Obviously it’s Congress’s fault that nothing has been done, so The Times has come up with a few proposals as to how the commander-in-chief can enact some rather expansive gun control without a single vote of the legislative branch . . .
The essence of their plan, as laid out in their how-to article, “Here’s a Way to Control Guns“: use government contracts against the gun companies.
For more than a year, we and fellow religious leaders across the nation have worked to persuade President Obama to use what we believe is the most powerful tool government has in this area: its purchasing power. The federal government is the nation’s top gun buyer. It purchases more than a quarter of the guns and ammunition sold legally in the United States. State and local law enforcement agencies also purchase a large share. Major gun manufacturers depend on these taxpayer-funded purchases. For the government to keep buying guns from these companies — purchases meant to ensure public safety — without making demands for change is to squander its leverage.
The broad strokes of their scheme is to use those government contracts and buying power to require gun companies to do the anti-gun administration’s bidding. Want the U.S. Border patrol contract for pistols? Then you’d better fall into line. They argue that since the majority of crimes in the United States are committed using firearms from companies that also have contracts with the .gov, then surely by enacting these regulations on those specific companies we can reduce crime!
It’s precisely the kind of logic you’d expect from the same people who believe that a ban on “assault weapons” will have any measurable impact on crime. Those guns are popular in crimes because they are widely available. Adding odious restrictions to the sale of GLOCKs may reduce the proportion of GLOCKs in criminal hands, but they will only be replaced with Hi-Points and Kel Tecs, brands not typically sourced by the feds. You don’t specifically need a GLOCK to shoot someone — any old thing will do.
Expecting that limiting the availability of one specific model of handgun will reduce the overall crime rate is like expecting a ban on BMW Z series cars to eliminate drunk driving. But that logic seems to have escaped the NY Times’ editorial board.
OK, so this is dumb from the start, but what exactly do they propose?
They could distribute their guns exclusively through dealers that sell guns responsibly, and end their relationships with the small percentage of bad-apple dealers that sell a disproportionate number of the guns used in crimes.
First, use federal purchasing power to begin a substantive conversation with gun manufacturers. The Pentagon is in the process of selecting the provider of handguns for the United States Army. It should require all bidders to provide detailed information about their gun safety technologies and distribution practices in the civilian market. No response, no contract.
The F.B.I. should do likewise. In his forthright statement on how Dylann Roof obtained the gun used to murder churchgoers in Charleston without having a completed background check, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, explained that gun dealers have the discretion to execute a sale — or not — if a background check isn’t completed within three days. The next logical step, in our view, is for Mr. Comey to ask the F.B.I.’s firearms suppliers to stop doing business with dealers who won’t agree to use that discretion to protect the public.
So, what you’re saying is that you want to hold gun store owners accountable for the actions of their legal customers? How about we tell GM to stop using dealerships where a “disproportionate number” of their cars are used in fatal drunk driving accidents? The law of the land already states that gun stores (and gun manufacturers) are not responsible for the actions of their customers at the end of a legal gun sale, but the NY Times wants to ignore that little fact and impose restrictions anyway.
The ATF already conducts regular inspections of gun stores and ensures compliance with the law. If the Times is concerned about these “bad apple” gun stores, then perhaps their rallying cry should be more ATF oversight of bad actor stores instead of some nefarious backdoor legislation. Instead of removing one specific brand of firearm from their shelves, if the Times was really concerned about the health and safety of people in the area, they would demand that the entire shop be shuttered.
More funding for the ATF investigative branch. Better oversight of “bad apple” shops. Both of these suggestions would have made more logical sense from the NY Times’ editorial board, had a bigger impact on their perceived threat of illegal gun sales, may have made the local area safer, and actually have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting enacted. But no, according to the Times the only way to make the world safer is to eliminate guns at the source.
As for their expanded point about requiring gun owners to “use discretion” when a background check isn’t complete in three days, what exactly are they demanding? Are they asking that gun dealers look deep into the heart of each and every customer and make a determination as to whether they are a “good” person before releasing the firearm? Or do they just mean “use discretion” as a codeword for “deny the sale anyway?” I think the second one seems more accurate for the Times’ opinion.
What else ya got?
Second, work with companies to develop new models of distribution, such as through dealers certified by the industry as reputable.
Uh, you mean like the existing Federal Firearms License system? Where potential gun store owners go through a rigorous vetting process, have to follow prescribed rules, and are subject to regular inspections? I mean, it’s not like any Jim Bob can put up a tent in his back yard and start selling firearms as a business, there’s already an existing system in place to regulate those sales and ensure that only “reputable” gun stores are allowed to remain open. Again, this is another wonderful example of the Times failing to understand the basic principles of a system that they are demanding change to meet their New York City opinions.
Third, rescue the federal government’s smart-gun research efforts from oblivion. Tens of millions of research dollars are needed to help get promising safety technologies to market.
The NY Times regularly and consistently treats smart guns as if that’s the silver bullet for “gun violence.” They watched that James Bond movie Skyfall one too many times and have come to believe that everything they see in movies is able to be recreated here in the real world. In short, they live in a fantasy world.
“Smart guns” have never been proven to have any impact on “gun violence.” Even if they were introduced today, the existing market conditions (AKA the millions upon millions of cheap “dumb guns” in circulation) would mean that criminals would continue to purchase existing older production firearms to commit their crimes while the law abiding citizens who need the most protection (minorities and those in inner cities) would be priced out of the “smart gun” market and unable to own a firearm. In short, only rich people would be able to afford one of these new whiz-bang gizmos — if they even worked. Which they don’t.
Delightful. Another editorial from the New York Times’ exhausted and hallowed halls that (A) completely fails to understand the nature of the issue (if we just ban these GLOCK fortays then crime will stop!), (B) fails to articulate a way to accomplish their goals that is within the realm of possibility (just punish everyone who doesn’t make a smart gun!), and (C) hilariously fails to understand the existing systems in place before opening their yap to make their inane suggestions (let’s create a system so we know which gun dealers follow the law! Then give them a license! And oversee the system! Oh, wait, that already exists?). Par for the course.