As violent crime soars in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, folks living in the Twin Cities are responding in very different ways. While some anti-violence activists are embracing things like a “gun buyback,” many residents are purchasing firearms for self-defense, often for the first time in their lives. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, we take a closer look at what’s happening in Minneapolis and why we’re seeing two very different responses to the increase in violent crime.
We start with the gun control side of the equation. This coming Saturday, Bishop Richard Howell, Jr. and the Shiloh Temple church will be hosting a “gun buyback” event. Howell says his church has been the site of far too many funerals this year involving young men, and that “something” needs to happen to reduce the violence.
“No one is gonna get arrested. No one is gonna get charged for anything. All we want is give us your guns. That’s one less gun we have to worry about in this community and one less life we have to be concerned about that may be taken away,” he said.
And one less funeral.
“We shouldn’t have to go through our loved ones being murdered and killed for no reason. We need a way to stop that, and I think that buyback program will help with that,” Howell said. “There has to be more than just praying. There has to be direct action to make those prayers come to pass.”
Unfortunately for Bishop Howell, the compensated confiscation event hosted by his church isn’t likely to lead to less violence, and could actually make it more difficult for police to make arrests in some of the 59 homicides that have taken place in Minneapolis this year. There’s virtually no evidence that these types of programs lead to a reduction in violence, accidental shootings, or suicide, but if a criminal is looking to ditch a gun used in a crime, a “no questions asked” turn-in program allows them to not only do so, but to get some easy cash at the same time. If they need or want another gun, they can always acquire another one on the black market, through theft, or a straw purchase.
In fact, at this point it might be easier for a criminal to get ahold of a gun than a law-abiding citizen trying to purchase a firearm from a Twin Cities gun shop. As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently reported, the Great Gun Run of 2020 has left many stores with a depleted inventory of firearms and almost no ammunition available for sale.
The surge in gun and ammunition purchases began in March, as the pandemic led to panic buying and shortages of staples, like rice and toilet paper, that some feared might lead to home invasions, gun shop owners said.
George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, and the protests and riots that followed, further stoked fears of social unrest and violence, intensifying the run on guns and ammunition for self-defense.
“[People] have seen firsthand that law enforcement is not always going to be there to protect them,” said Kevin Vick, executive vice president of Stock & Barrel Gun Club, a gun shop and range with clubs in Chanhassen and Eagan.
Dave Amon, an agent at Gunstop of Minnetonka, said demand shows no signs of slowing — especially as the national conversation around the changing role of law enforcement rages on.
“I’ve seen a lot more single moms that are scared and need something to protect them,” he said. “They’re scared when people talk about defunding the police.”
Gun sales have been at record highs across the country for months know, but the Twin Cities are likely seeing an extra boost in interest thanks to the Minneapolis City Council’s idiotic decision to try to push to abolish the city’s police force and replace it with… well, they’ve been awfully unclear as to what would come next after the defund the department. Over at HotAir, my friend Ed Morrissey points out that council members are now running away from their earlier calls to “reimagine policing” in the wake of the rising violence in the city.
This outcome was entirely predictable, and for many who live in Minneapolis, a huge relief as well. The New York Times describes the collapse of the abolish-the-police mission by the city “a case study in how idealistic calls for structural change can falter.” It’s better described as yet another reminder that sloganeering doesn’t replace actual governance, and what happens when politicians react to activists rather than talk to their own constituents.
The single most important thing that could be done to reduce the surge in violence in Minneapolis is to ensure that there are consequences for those violent acts. Forget about “no questions asked gun buybacks” and focus on actually apprehending violent suspects. That means working with residents who have witnessed violent crimes, but who may be reluctant to talk to police out of concerns for their own personal safety or because they believe that officers don’t take the violence seriously. It means working with federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s office to target the most violent and prolific offenders with federal charges that typically result in lengthier prison stays and less opportunity for early release from their sentences. It also means providing an opportunity to escape the drug and gang-fueled violence, and that’s where Bishop Howell could truly make a difference and an impact on those young lives that are being destroyed by their own bad decisions.
Be sure to check out the entire show above, and stick around for even more news, like the woman in western Pennsylvania who was able to defend herself from her abusive boyfriend, a Louisiana man with a lengthy criminal history now facing murder charges after allegedly shooting a man in the head in an argument over a pair of Nikes, and a child in South Carolina who’s alive and well today thanks to the live-saving efforts of several strangers on a crowded beach.