Op-ed calls for gun control law that authors admit criminals won't obey

Op-ed calls for gun control law that authors admit criminals won't obey

Rarely have I seen the utter vacuousness of the gun control ideology stated as succinctly as the editorial board of the Kansas City Star did in an editorial trying to tie the murder of North Kansas City police officer Daniel Vasquez to “gun culture.”

The suspect in Officer Vasquez’s murder is accused of shooting the officer after being pulled over for an expired license plate, firing several rounds at point-blank range as the officer lay wounded on the street. When the suspect turned himself in to authorities several hours later, he had what police describe as an “assault-style” rifle in the passenger seat of his car, and allegedly told authorities he had the rifle in his lap as Vasquez approached the car.

The Kansas City Star’s editorial board, desperate to find some gun control angle to Vasquez’s murder, first took aim at Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act before turning their attention to guns in vehicles.

Missouri’s law banning federal-local cooperation on gun crimes is a misguided farce, and should be tested in court. Let’s see Attorney General Eric Schmitt sue to block a federal investigation of a police killing.

We also urge lawmakers to broadly review Missouri’s gun laws, which generally allow adult drivers to carry concealable weapons in their vehicles. A Missouri law prohibiting pistols in cars would not have prevented this shooting.

Any suspect willing to shoot a police officer will not obey a law banning weapons in his or her car. It’s already against the law for anyone to fire a weapon from a motor vehicle, or at one, unless it’s in self defense.

So, the Star’s editorial board says right up front that any gun control law preventing legal gun owners from having access to a gun while traveling isn’t going to be obeyed by someone with violent criminal intent. That’s great, except for the fact that the editorial board completely contradicts itself just a few paragraphs later.

We urge the Missouri legislature to review its gun laws next year to make weapons harder to get and use. We suggest a specific emphasis on laws prohibiting guns in the front seat of cars.

They can label the statute “Daniel’s Law.”

If I understand the Star’s argument, criminals won’t obey a law barring firearms from vehicles, but they will abide by a law that restricts guns to the back seat?

Not only would the Star’s suggestion be roundly ignored by violent criminals, it would almost certainly be rejected by otherwise law-abiding citizens who want to protect themselves once they get out of their vehicles or even when they’re inside their cars. Under the Star’s proposed standard, the armed citizen in this 2020 carjacking in Missouri would have faced criminal charges for possessing their legally owned gun even though they acted in self-defense.

Billingsley and Whitfield, armed with pistols, approached a man washing his car in a stall at the car wash, according to the police account. They robbed the man, with Billingsley stealing the man’s cell phone. Smith was in the car when Billingsley and Whitfield got out of the car to rob the victim.

When Billingsley went into the victim’s car, Whitfield and the victim started to fight, and the victim shot and killed Whitfield.

Billingsley got out of the car and exchanged gunfire with the victim.

Police say that Billingsley fled the car wash and was picked up by Smith, who drove him to the hospital for his bullet wound.

Actually, I guess it would be a best case scenario that the armed citizen in question would have been charged with illegally possessing a firearm. If the Star’s editorial board really got their way the armed driver would have been unarmed and helpless to defend himself against the two armed carjackers, who by the Star’s own account, would have ignored the law the paper wants to see put in place.

The murder of Officer Daniel Vasquez is a terrible tragedy, and I hope the man responsible feels the full force of the law in response. But making it impossible or legally dangerous for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from violent attackers isn’t the answer. Practically speaking, a law like this would only put legal gun owners at risk, not to mention being clearly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has affirmed in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that the Second Amendment protects a general right to carry a firearm in self-defense in public, and that would most certainly include the right to protect yourself in your own vehicle. None of that matters to the editors at the Kansas City Star, who seem intent on putting ineffective and unconstitutional laws in place that would only put more people at risk of being the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack.