By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
The hitch is how to reduce deaths by gun violence – whether it’s street violence, mass shootings, whatever – without interfering with the constitutional rights of the people who aren’t criminals, maniacs and otherwise. More than one person has opined that “if there’s a gun regulation that would do it without interfering with anyone’s rights, fine.”
Believe it or not, there are some laws, regulations or what have you that actually WOULD have a reductionary effect on gun violence, and none are an assault weapon ban.
As most people are aware, less than 5 percent of all gun crimes are actually committed with a rifle, including modern sporting rifles such as the AR-15. Heck, the last time there was a ban on them, it didn’t exactly achieve the most phenomenal results. After all, the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings were done with nary an AR-15 in sight.
What would those be?
First, safe storage laws, a legal requirement or incentive of some sort to lock firearms and ammunition away. This won’t prevent every mass shooting or any other type of homicide by firearm, but it will prevent a good number of them.
Many school shooters used their parents’ or other relatives’ firearms to carry out their evil deeds. How to prevent it? You lock your guns away in a safe, and you don’t let anyone have access besides yourself or maybe a spouse.
Anyone is horrified when they read stories of toddlers that get their hands on an unsecured firearm and fatally shoot themselves, a sibling, a playmate or parent. A safe, even a simple lockbox on the upper shelf of a closet, can keep such incidents from happening as well.
Again, this won’t stop all school shootings or accidental shootings from happening. But it would prevent a lot of them.
Second, stronger laws when it comes to NCIC reporting. The NCIC, for those unaware, or the National Crime Information Center, is the FBI’s criminal database for the whole country. If a hypothetical person is convicted of a felony in, say, Arkansas, the state reports it to the NCIC.
If said hypothetical person tries to buy a firearm later in life, their application will get turned down automatically because the NCIC is where the National Instant Criminal background check System gets THEIR information.
Why does this matter?
If the Air Force had been mandated to report any and every criminal activity to the NCIC, the Sutherland Springs shooter’s arrest, imprisonment and bad conduct discharge for spousal abuse would have disqualified him from buying the AR-15 with which he carried out his evil deeds. Had the state of Virginia been mandated to report any mental health adjudications, the outpatient therapy order that the VA Tech shooter was under would have prevented him from buying two handguns.
And, unfortunately, so on and so forth; these two are far from the only instances.
It wouldn’t even take much. A computer program could easily be written to automatically report certain offenses to the NCIC. The capabilities of software automation are astounding, so the human factor in not reporting can be easily gotten around. This is, after all, the 21st Century.
Lastly, and this may be controversial but is also inarguable, is a change in our drug laws.
You see, a great deal of firearm violence is gang violence, related often to the drug trade. Not all of it, but a lot of it. Some estimates are that up to 50 percent of all gun violence is gang-related, and what do most gangs in the United States do? They deal.
What happened in the 1920s when the Volstead Act and then the 18th Amendment prohibited alcohol? Violent crime in major cities skyrocketed but stabilized after the 21st Amendment was passed, repealing it. What’s linked to violent crime in the inner cities from the 1960s onward?
Drug-related violent crime. Chicago isn’t the world’s largest outdoor shooting range because of Democrats; it’s that way because of the innate violence of the criminal drug trade. Granted, they haven’t made the situation any better.
This isn’t to say illicit substances aren’t harmful. They are, and every effort should be made to keep people from abusing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and indeed even legal drugs such as tobacco or alcohol, which can also be harmful. Illicit substances must also kept well away from children. This isn’t to say that people aren’t responsible for their actions if or when they are acting outside the law. They of course are, and must be held responsible.
This is, however, to say that there is an irrefutable connection between violent crime and drug prohibition. If somehow laws can be eased on the latter, there will be a reduction of the former. It’s been proven time and again.
Editor’s note: Yes, Sam knows an assault weapon to us gun people is a full auto, which is already heavily regulated.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.