Police still don’t have any suspects in the shooting outside a Miami banquet hall this past weekend that left two people dead and more than two dozen injured, but as we’ve previously reported, that’s not stopping some law enforcement officials in south Florida like Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo from declaring that more gun control laws like universal background checks could have prevented the attack from taking place.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we get a different perspective from another Floridian; Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was murdered in the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Since that awful day, Petty has dedicated much of his time to working on effective policies and tactics that can reduce violent crime without imposing unconstitutional or ineffective restrictions on law-abiding citizens, and he has plenty to say about what we can do right now to reverse the rising crime rate and why he doesn’t believe that gun control is the answer.
Petty points out that while we don’t have any information on those responsible for the shooting, the chances are pretty slim that they legally acquired the guns used in crime, and the odds are even less that they would have gone through a background check even if a universal background check law had been in place. Add to that the fact that it’s impossible for police to proactively enforce a background check law against private sales, and the futility of a gun control-based solution becomes readily apparent.
Petty also notes that the while reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects in the Miami concert hall shooting has grown to more than $100,000, the odds are that at least one person had prior knowledge that the attack was going to take place before any shots were fired. One of the most effective ways to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is to simply communicate and share information with authorities, but there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed before we can expect that to happen.
The first (and more difficult) problem is the suspicion and lack of trust between police and many of the communities that they serve. When people feel that police don’t really care about shootings in their neighborhoods, they’re far less likely to contact police and alert them to problems or beefs that may escalate into bloodshed. Addressing this issue is going to take more than a simple public relations push by police. There needs to be a sustained effort by both law enforcement and community leaders to actually work together on these issues, but it can be done.
The second problem is actually connected to the first. Not only is there a lack of trust in many communities, but there’s also a realistic concern about cooperating with law enforcement; the fear of retaliation. It’s hard to ask someone to cooperate with police and prosecutors when the odds are that the criminal in question is likely going to return to the streets in a short amount of time and will be looking to silence key witnesses. Increasing witness protection services could go a long way towards addressing the legitimate fear of retribution that prevents good people in bad neighborhoods from providing law enforcement with evidence needed to lock up violent offenders, and Petty believes it would be a far more productive approach than slapping another gun control law on the books.
Be sure to check out the entire conversation with Ryan Petty in the video window above, including his prediction about whether the Miami shooting will actually lead to more gun control in Florida, and why he believes that it’s time for the Sunshine State to follow the lead of Texas and other states that have adopted Constitutional Carry.