As Ian Fleming opined, once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. What we have here is now clearly enemy action aimed at restricting the right to keep and bear arms.
The gun control industry has been suspiciously quiet over the last few months as millions of Americans have crowded gun stores, many of them buying their first firearms. That’s not a particularly receptive audience for the standard Bloomberg/Brady/Giffords agitprop arguments such as only police and the military should have guns and homes with firearms are more likely to spontaneously combust.
Then Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes and police violence became a national issue. A firearm wasn’t used in Floyd’s murder, but, never ones to let an opportunity go to waste, it’s now clear that the made members of the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex got on the horn to their compliant allies in the media and begain peddling their latest messaging brainstorm: we can’t expect better police conduct as long as Americans are allowed to own firearms.
First up with an incoherent take on the theme was Robert Gebelhof in the Washington Post. Then Derek Thompson at The Atlantic took a swing at making the case, including some rote regurgitation of discredited anti-gun talking points. Now it’s Fast Company’s Talib Visram’s turn at the plate. Note that like Thompson, Visram pushes the “gun show loophole” argument without making Thompson’s clumsy mistake of spouting that BS “40% of guns are sold without a background check” statistic.
Solving police violence, [Brady president Kris] Brown says, needs a holistic approach. It’s “an issue of violence that eclipses the role of the gun,” she says. “It’s going to take addressing systemic racism in our society in a meaningful way. It’s going to take enhancing and strengthening the gun laws in this country that fuel a belief, no matter who you are, that someone walking down the street may very likely have a gun.”
The organization has been taking a multipronged approach, using the channels of Congress, the courts, and communities by advocating for the passage of police reform bills, pressing for violence intervention funding in localities around the country, and working with community-based violence intervention groups like Washington, D.C.’s Alliance of Concerned Men. When people discuss defunding the police, she says, that means their tax dollars can be used to invest in communities in ways that better ensure everyone’s safety.
But strengthening loose gun laws should also be part of that work, and all the experts agree that the most relevant to address are ones that are helping to increase the ubiquity of “crime guns,” or firearms that enter the criminal marketplace through lax sales laws and bad tracing practices. There’s a “grossly negligent oversight of how guns are sold,” Brown says.
A lot of guns are sold through private, federally unlicensed dealers at gun shows, which is legally allowed because of what’s informally known as the “gun show loophole.” In many instances, these guns are sold in bulk. But laws have also made it difficult for the the ATF, the only agency permitted to trace guns through their custody chain, to track where the guns end up or if they’re used in crimes. A policy called the Tiahrt Amendment bars the agency from creating a public database. All these loopholes need to be closed to increase transparency, experts say, which could then dissipate the fear of illegal guns.