We Need To Focus On Illegal Guns Says….Charles Blow

Typically, the left-leaning gun grabbers focus on how to restrict gun ownership to law abiding citizens (while often refusing to give up their own guns). The NY Times’ Charles Blow, not usually known for being reasonable, has taken a different common sense tactic.

Focus on Illegal Guns

…(discussion of shooting of Philadelphia police officer)

But the episode also highlighted something else that does not get enough discussion: the use of stolen guns in crimes.

You see, the gun used in the Philadelphia attack had been stolen, from a police officer no less, in 2013.

Our current discussion about increasing gun regulations often centers on efforts that would mostly affect people who legally buy firearms. Many of them make sense, in theory, but the truth is that they would not be likely to have a huge impact on criminal gun violence, because many of those criminals obtain their weapons illegally.

So, when the gun lobby and gun owners make this case, we must admit that they have a point.

Mr. Blow then spends some time discussing studies that show where criminals get their weapons. Quite a few are stolen. Up to half a million guns are stolen each year. One article Charles cites mentions

If we can determine which source is the most important, lawmakers can design policies to help keep weapons out of criminals’ hands.

Those sources could be a very small percentage of gun dealers who traffic in stolen guns. Gangs and social networks. Theft. And, of course, if you were expecting Charles’ op-ed to break down into more restrictions and such on law abiding citizens, congratulations, here it comes.

If we want to truly put a dent in gun violence, we must take some incredibly unpopular steps in some pockets. Safety features — including smart guns that can only be fired by the owner — are going to have to be added to the market. That will be hard to sell because no one wants a gun to fail to because it lacks a charge or due to a technology glitch. One of benefits of traditional guns is that, technologically, they are simple and ancient. There are no batteries or chips.

We are also likely to have to register guns and require insurance. This would be almost impossible, given the gun lobby’s and many gun owners’ current stance and the paranoid fears of confiscation, a fear some liberals feed.

Unpopular doesn’t even begin to cover it. Let’s not forget that guns are also stolen from law enforcement. The gun that an illegal alien used to kill Kate Steinle was stolen from an agent of the BLM. A US Secret Service agent had their gun (and badge) stolen. And, the gun used in the Philadelphia attempted assassination was stolen, as Mr. Blow mentioned. Does anyone think law enforcement wants to replace their guns with “smart guns”? For one thing, they are, currently low caliber. Second, if a gun messes up, it’s usually due to shoddy maintenance or a bullet jam. With a smart gun, a lot can go wrong, including taking a long time to make the electronic connection that allows it to be fired.

Typically, if your car is stolen, you are not responsible for any damages if the criminal hits someone. But, you better report it stolen. Likewise, why would a gun owner be held responsible when their weapon is stolen?

Here’s one idea: rather than an overall smart gun solution, why not implement some method which could lock the firearm remotely, much like with smartphones? If someone steals mine, or I lose it, I can remotely lock it, and do it easily. Laws on when Government can step in and do this would have to be carefully crafted.

At the end of the day, though, Charles goes down a typical route and places the burden on law abiding citizens. But, it is worth considering that a goodly chunk of illegally owned firearms are stolen. How do we reduce this?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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