D.C.'s abstinence-based approach to guns is having deadly consequences

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

You know how much gun control advocates hate the old adage “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” right? The left doesn’t like to talk much about the people who pull the trigger and take innocent human lives (though sometimes they’re more than willing to talk about their parents). They’d prefer instead to focus on the inanimate object. If you talk about banning or restricting guns, it helps to gloss over the fact that what you’re really doing is putting more people behind bars for non-violent, possessory “crimes” related to a constitutionally-protected right.

So imagine my surprise when I saw Washington Post columnist Colbert King come awfully close to adopting the adage above when reacting to the shooting of a 23-month old child in Washington, D.C. and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s response, which was that “on too many occasions that guns aren’t the problem, that it’s the people who use them. But don’t tell me guns don’t kill people. Just two weeks ago, a baby was killed by a gun in his home. And while the investigation into what happened is still ongoing, one thing is true: that precious baby boy would be alive today if that gun wasn’t in his home.”

Here’s King’s take:

I respectfully wish to expand upon Bowser’s declaration:

I am convinced that the precious baby boy would be alive today if someone — some “helper,” if you will — had not brought that weapon into his home.

Declare war on that gun, Madam Mayor — if you can find it, since it reportedly was removed from the scene before the police arrived.

But if you get hold of it, go right ahead and arrange a gun takedown in front of the John A. Wilson building. Give everybody a chance to take a whack at the weapon, curse, stomp and spit on it.

Disassemble the firearm into the smallest pieces possible and fling the contents to the farthest ends of the Earth.

And then turn attention back to the harsh reality of that Southeast D.C. apartment on the day before Thanksgiving. Legend didn’t bring that lethal weapon home. And he certainly had nothing to do with its disappearance.

Nearly a month later and we don’t know what happened. Asked whether a child of Legend’s age could shoot himself, Contee said, “Anything is possible. Probable is another issue.”

Is it also possible, if not probable, that situating a loaded weapon near a 23-month-old child could be considered reckless?That removal of evidence of the shooting crosses a red line?

Is it also possible that holding people accountable for that little boy’s death is also a D.C. official responsibility?

Yes, a bullet from the gun ended his life. But the gun had help.

As our crime stats show, guns in our city have loads of helpers. We wouldn’t have so many dead and broken bodies, so many victims of armed robberies, so many people afraid to walk the streets at night, were it not for guns and their helpers.

I confess, I don’t know why the Left treats guns as if they’re sentient creatures. They never do that with knives, or with drugs like fentanyl. You’d never hear Muriel Bowser bemoan the computer that trafficked in child pornography, or the lighter that started an arson. Only firearms get that treatment for some reason.

The gun didn’t have “help”. It had a user, and while King can at least acknowledge that fact, he still wants to give the gun equal credit for ending Legend King Wheeler’s life.

Washington, D.C. tried to ban guns, and for more than 30 years they were successful in preventing anyone from legally purchasing and possessing a handgun within the District’s limits. Illegal possession, on the other hand, became more popular than ever. And making guns taboo only made them more necessary for the swaggering toughs and garden-variety gang members in the city’s roughest neighborhoods.

The Heller decision brought an end to D.C.’s handgun ban, but the District’s hostility towards gun ownership remains. There are still no gun stores in the city, nor any publicly accessible ranges. For as much as Mayor Bowser and others talk about the need for “gun safety”, they make it nearly impossible for people to access training facilities and resources.

We need ranges in D.C., outreach and education on everything from how to properly load and use your firearm to safe storage options. Not a one-off as a public relations stunt, but a truly different approach and mindset on the part of the D.C. power players. Of course, the lack of personal responsibility goes much deeper than just gun ownership, and this alone wouldn’t solve the problem completely. But the abstinence-based approach to guns that the District’s been pushing for decades just leads to more bad behavior with firearms, and it’s long past time for a change in direction.