Why the "gun control is crime control" argument is falling flat

Democrats desperate to prove they can be tough on crime are instead pointing in many cases to laws that are aimed squarely at responsible gun owners hoping to exercise their Second Amendment rights; a midterm strategy that so far doesn’t appear to be paying off for the left.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re honing in on the “gun control is crime control” argument that Democrats are trotting out from Washington State to New York, using a new piece by Daily Beast writer Melissa DeRosa as our jumping off point.
DeRosa at least recognizes that concerns about crime are real, as are the increasing rates of violence in many U.S. cities. But instead of encouraging Democrats to focus like a laser on the actual perpetrators of those crimes, she’s still encouraging the left to make the case that gun control is a crime-fighting measure instead of the crime creator that it is.

Democrats can be true to their “progressive” ideology and aggressively fight crime. They are not mutually inconsistent. In fact, mainstream Democrats are better positioned to fight crime than Republicans—but they must communicate it clearly and forcefully, drawing the contrast between our solution-oriented approach and Republicans fear mongering.

A major element of crime reduction is gun control. President Biden was right to call for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines—and two-thirds of Americans agree with him. But Democrats—eager to take credit for the bi-partisan gun bill passed earlier this year—need to acknowledge that that legislation did not get to the core of the problem and make it clear that the Republican Party is the reason why.

Republicans support providing tax breaks to their wealthy donors, while Democrats prioritize long-term sustainable solutions at the root of crime like quality public housing and funding for mental health. Democrats should hammer that point and present concrete plans to increase mental health services to get dangerously mentally ill homeless people off the street and demand the White House provide emergency funds to do it.

Democrats can support both policies that hold people accountable for quality of life offenses and community policing strategies which seek to ease the tension between police officers and the constituents they serve.

And we must support police who put their lives on the line to serve and protect while also calling out and holding fully accountable officers who abuse their position or break the law.

Finally, Democrats have to be willing to say that some people have to be behind bars to keep society safe. That is the crux of the matter. Listening to the far-left extremists, they believe no one should be in jail. This is untenable and unrealistic. We can address the root causes of crime—poverty, mental health, lack of education and a lack of opportunity—and still protect the public by incarcerating dangerous individuals. And yes, we also believe in rehabilitation and alternatives to incarceration when feasible.

Unfortunately for DeRosa, the progressive point of view on criminal justice reform is runs counter to the left’s demands for gun control. DeRosa spends a lot of time promoting things like quality public housing and increased mental health services (programs, by the way, that a conservative like me is willing to support) but neglects to mention the punitive aspects of the gun control legislation she’s demanding. It’s nice that DeRosa will admit that there are some people who deserve to be behind bars for their crimes, but her fellow Democrats believe that applies to gun owners who possess a 17-round magazine, a modern sporting rifle, or those who dare to carry a firearm in one of their many proposed “sensitive places”, even if they possess a concealed carry license. Gun control creates non-violent criminal offenses out of our right to keep and bear arms; something that not only adds to our rate of incarceration (at the expense of our civil rights) but allows for law enforcement to focus on non-violent offenders while arrest rates for carjackings, non-fatal shootings, and even homicides have seen steep declines.

Meanwhile in the real world, beleaguered citizens are having to deal with not only a rise in violent crime but fewer police resources; a perfect storm that has many folks, including gun owners, demanding something be done.

A Puyallup man is calling for change after he says he had to confront suspects who stole his wife’s car when law enforcement didn’t respond until the day after they were called.

Michael Wilson said someone stole his wife’s car out of their driveway on Oct. 13. Later that night, they spotted the car in a parking lot at 176th St. E and Meridian Ave. E.

I saw two people who were in the car, who were in the process of getting high,” said Wilson.

His wife called South Sound 911, who told her officers were on the way. Wilson says he didn’t know if the suspects were armed, but he wasn’t taking any chances: he grabbed his gun.

“I had the people in my car. We called them [police]. If they were there in five minutes, they probably would have found them,” said Wilson

Both suspects took off.

“We waited for an hour to see if the cops would come.  During that hour waiting, the cops never showed up. One of the people that was in my car came back. I used my Second Amendment rights again to stop them from trying to get into their vehicle, not knowing what was in their vehicle, if they were gonna try to hurt me or my family, because I had my kids with me, so not knowing if they were going to, I used my Second Amendment rights. My wife was on the phone with the police again while they were there on the phone, telling them what I was doing. The assailant also called the cops telling them I had them using my Second Amendment rights and they never showed up,” said Wilson.

The police didn’t arrive until the following day, and didn’t bother trying to collect any fingerprints, according to Wilson, because his wife had driven their stolen car back to their home. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office says that there were only two deputies on shift in Wilson’s district the night that his car was stolen, and that other, higher priority calls meant that he and his wife were forced to wait for hours.

Gun control isn’t the answer here, and with millions of Americans embracing their Second Amendment rights for the very first time over the past few years because of their concerns for their personal safety, I seriously doubt that Democrats’ insistence that pushing for more gun control is the same as getting tough on crime is going to resonate with voters around the country.