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There are three types of bad guys: opportunists, professionals and psychos . . .

Opportunists commit crimes without planning or forethought, when the need for money is high (like them) and there’s a chance they might get away with it. They’re really bad at risk assessment. An open house door or a single women walking down a lonely street is this criminal’s catnip. Opportunists are disorganized, easily led and (again) prone to chemical addiction. And spurts of violence. Guns, knives, clubs, whatever falls to hand. It’s all good.

If confronted or challenged, an opportunist will probably attack, no matter what the odds of capture. They’re animals, acting on animal instincts. Opportunists don’t know, understand and/or care that a gun crime is punished more severely than another offense. Jails are full of drug-addicted opportunists.

The best way to avoid an opportunist: avoid them. Don’t go where they go. All that common sense anti-crime advice—lock your doors, park in a well-lit area, carry a can of pepper spray, consider carrying a concealed weapon—applies.

A professional criminal is simply an opportunist with a bit of brains and a better support network (usually a gang affiliation). They’re far more adept at risk assessment. Their crimes are planned. Until they aren’t. Corner a professional criminal and the violence begins. Again, guns, knives, clubs, fists, whatever. That said, they’ree far more likely to carry a gun than an opportunist. They understand the seriousness of gun crimes; they’ll use their weapon to kill a witness.

On the upside, professional criminals have a knack for finding their way out of tight spots. If confronted, they may run. On the downside, violence is part of their plan. If you’re not prepared to scare them off or neutralize the threat early in the proceedings, you lose.

The best way to avoid a professional? Follow all the security rules that apply to an opportunist, except more so.

At home, an alarm, good lighting, strong doors and windows, vigilance and making sure your house doesn’t appear unoccupied lowers your risk of exposure. More than that, don’t have anything worth stealing. Don’t look like you have anything worth stealing (e.g. drive a flashy car). And don’t tell anyone online or in the real world about stuff you have that might be worth stealing.

If you have a home security firearm, keep it on your person. If an opportunists or professional presents you with the possibility death or grievous bodily harm, the fight for dominance over you and yours will be nasty, brutish and short.

Psychos—which includes stalkers, spree killers and terrorists—are the worst type of criminal. They’re patient, methodical and cunning. They will use a gun—or anything else that might satisfy their fantasies of violence, torture, degradation and murder. Violence is the end game, and they come prepared.

If a psycho is after you, you’re fucked. Even if you tool-up and bunker down, the psycho will find a way to get you. They’re not scared of you or your guns. To survive, you’ll need to be extremely violent and very lucky.

What can gun control do to reduce gun crimes perpetuated by any of these three criminal groups?

All those calls for “getting guns off the streets” are aimed at opportunists. The theory: if an opportunist doesn’t have easy access to a gun they won’t use one. Gun crime will go down. Ignoring the simple fact that opportunists can and do use alternative weapons (including brute force), the chances of removing their “easy access” to guns is, statistically speaking, inconsequential.

As long as guns are produced in vast quantities for legal users, theft alone guarantees that opportunists will be able to secure a weapon. Even if you stopped all firearms production today, it would take decades for the black market supply to dry up. For good and ill, Americans opened that Pandora’s box a long time ago.

I repeat: society can’t remove guns from society. And if there are guns to be gotten, professional criminals will get them. Breaking the law is what they do. You can no more stop a pro from getting a gun than you can prevent all of Alaska’s salmon from reaching their spawning grounds.

As for psychos and terrorists, access to guns is the least of your worries. When it comes to creating murder and mayhem, nothing and no one will stand in their way. (Two words: fertilizer bomb.) If anyone can beat a legislative trap—and just about anyone can—the pyschos can. They enjoy the challenge.

Close the gun show loophole? Close the terrorist loophole? Sure, we outlaw criminal access to guns so we can use it against them in a court of law. But these strenuous attempts to legislate away criminals’ ability to get guns are both irrelevant and bound to end in failure. Criminals of all stripes don’t respect laws. Ipso facto. And they know how to get around them.

Meanwhile, stringent gun control will make it harder for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against criminals.

Debating over gun shows sales and sales to suspected terrorists is a fool’s errand. If someone buys a gun illegally, arrest them. If someone is a suspected terrorist, prove it, and then arrest them. Otherwise, I urge gun control advocates to close the loophole loopholes, pay their taxes (to keep law enforcement officials employed) and take personal responsibility for their safety and security. Just like gun rights supporters.

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