The idea that passing new or “stricter” gun control laws will reduce “gun violence” is silly. Setting aside the statistically nominal death and injury toll caused by negligent firearms discharges and domestic violence, America’s “gun violence” problem takes two basic forms: suicide and criminal activity. As Japan’s suicide rate proves, even a total gun ban does sweet FA to stop people from offing themselves. Firearms-involved criminal activity is mostly gang bangers banging. Hard. So if you really want to reduce “gun violence” you have to . . .
increase mental health outreach, intervention and efficacy; and defund, degrade and destroy the gangs.
Neither task is easy or straightforward. Government agencies and institutions, private organizations and campaigners, and dedicated individuals are already trying to do both. And not without effect. The antis’ incessant bloody shirt waving shouldn’t obscure the fact that we’ve made tremendous strides in addressing mental health issues and reducing – or at least isolating – violent crime.
There’s room for improvement, of course.
I’d like to see the firearms industry tackle suicide prevention. I reckon every new gun should come with a card listing the warning signs of depression and providing a suicide prevention phone number. Not just for the buyer but also for the buyer’s reference, should a member of their household become dangerously depressed. (TTAG’s added a suicide prevention message to our home page.)
As for firearms-related criminal activity, I can only recommend that we lock up violent offenders – earlier, more often and for longer periods of time – and stop the war on drugs. If we end the criminal justice system’s revolving door for violent criminals, we’ll stop the ballistic bad actors acting badly – at least for the duration of their stay in jail. If we legalize drugs, we’ll shut off the gangs’ primary economic engine.
Maybe. Maybe not. Check this out [via borderlandbeat.com]:
The Mexican drug cartels have managed to recruit thousands of youngsters, in primary, secondary and preparatory schools in Texas, to form gangs under their control, in order to strengthen the flow of narcotic drugs to all of the United States.
This is clear from a National Gang Report from 2014, released by the Department of Public Safety for the State. In Texas there are about 100,000 Gang members and in El Paso approximately 5,600, distributed among 307 criminal organisations, according to information.
In accordance with the document “Texas Gang Threat Assessment”, the Cartels of Sinaloa, Juarez, del Golfo, and Los Zetas, recruit students using the internet and prisoners to become involved in illicit activities.
The gang members, who are supporting any of the Cartels, receive orders to locate children, who accept money, fame, women and drugs in exchange for activities related to drug trafficking, human trafficking or sexual trafficking.
According to information in the report, the ease of recruitment is great, because when one of these youngsters are detained, they can easily be replaced, and will continue to bolster gang numbers inside prison, once convicted.
The fight against suicide and criminality will never end. Firearms will always be used in both cases. Trying to limit firearms access for suicidal citizens and violent criminals is a mug’s game. As The People of the Gun like to say, it’s the same as trying to cure obesity by limiting access to spoons.
Speaking of metaphors, anti-gunners are like a drunk searching for his keys under a streetlamp because the light’s better. Truth be told, to tackle “gun violence” we must delve into the dark places where these problems live and confront the underlying issues head-on. Simply put, gun control’s got nothing to do with it.