It’s troubling when you’re a city leader when there’s a spike in crime. A single murder, as bad as it is, can be written off easily as an isolated tragedy. But when several homicides happen in a short amount of time, you almost have to start demanding answers. The people who elected you expect it.
But all too often, that demand ends up being a call for gun control. So-called leaders look to the easy scapegoat and start calling for a restriction on people’s constitutionally protected rights.
Durham officials called on state legislators Thursday to put in place “common-sense gun laws” in the aftermath of a rash of homicides in the first weeks of 2019.
Mayor Steve Schewel said it’s important to address the “root causes” of violence.
“First of all, and I have to mention this, we have got to have common-sense gun laws in this state,” he said.
Newly elected Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead echoed the mayor, saying it’s too easy for young people to access guns.
“There are far too many guns in our community,” Birkhead said. “I talk with our leaders in Raleigh about smart gun legislation that will limit the access young people have to guns. I have young people telling me it’s easier to get a gun than it is to get a meal, and that’s just unacceptable.”
First, that’s a load of bull. Easier to get a gun than a meal? Last time I checked, you didn’t have to get a background check at Wendy’s.
Of course, when you buy your guns off the black market, as most criminals do, then yeah, it’s pretty simple. Of course, there are also places that give you meals for free just because they want to feed the hungry, so I’m still calling BS on that statement.
But let’s give Birkhead the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he’s just engaging in a bit of hyperbole.
That still doesn’t acknowledge the fact that they failed to make a case of how new gun control would have prevented any of these murders. Either these are criminals who probably couldn’t buy a gun legally in the first place, or they’re people with no criminal history and wouldn’t be stopped from buying a gun, even with new restrictions.
Now, I agree with Mayor Schewel that it would be a good thing to figure out the “root causes” of violence. It’s an excellent idea, and something I’ve been a proponent of for quite some time.
The problem is that he follows it up with the familiar and non-sensical refrain of “common-sense gun laws.”
I hate to break it to the mayor, but those are contradicting terms. There is no such thing as “common-sense gun laws.” We already restrict who can purchase a firearm legally to keep them out of criminal and insane hands, but guess what? They continue to get them.
Further, as noted previously, these criminals don’t go through the regular channels to buy a gun. They use black market dealers to get them. Gun laws will never stop that from happening.
But it’s far easier to scream about how state lawmakers need to enact more gun control than do something that will lower crime in the city.