The cities of St. Louis and Kansas City in Missouri are having some serious issues. Both cities are besieged with violence and an overall soaring crime rate. As is understandable, the people of these cities look to their leaders and demand answers.
That’s why the city of St. Louis just passed an ordinance that would require gun stores to notify police of a failed background check.
It sounds good to people who don’t know any better, but it’s really a sign that these cities don’t really have a clue what to do.
St. Louis aldermen unanimously gave final approval to the bill Friday. Supporters say 30% of criminals who try to purchase guns but fail through background checks are arrested within five years. The bill awaits the mayor’s signature.
Both of Missouri’s big cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, have among the highest homicide rates in the nation. Both are seeking to address the problem through tougher gun laws.
They’re looking in the wrong place for answers.
I have no doubt that both of these cities really do want to address their problems with violence. I think they’re sincere in their desire to do so.
The problem is that they think gun control is the answer. In this, they’re dead wrong.
How do I know? That’s easy. Just look at the rest of Missouri. Outside of their urban centers, it’s just not an issue. Yet guns are just as easily accessible as they are inside the city. Why the discrepancy?
The answer isn’t exactly simple.
While people on both sides of the political aisle like to pretend it is, it’s not. There is a myriad of factors that play into something like violence and how it manifests inside of a city. However, what we can do is tell that the problem isn’t easy access to firearms. If it were, then the entire Midwest and Deep South would be plagued with violence outside of their larger urban centers. Yet, they’re not.
Further, let’s face the fact that most criminals seeking a firearm don’t try to get them from a legitimate gun store, especially if they know they can’t legally buy a gun. They’ll use a straw buyer to bypass the background check or simply get a firearm off the black market. There’s not going to be anything this new ordinance will do except, maybe, cull the very stupid.
And don’t expect that to happen either.
At the end of the day, I get why both of these cities are looking for answers. They’re just looking in the wrong places. The secret is to address the underlying issues that spawn into violence, things like poverty and lack of jobs. Addressing those underlying causes and solving them not only reduces violence, but ultimately benefits the community in a thousand different ways.
All without trying to infringe on the rights of a single human being.
It’s not easy to fix those underlying causes, to be sure, but it’s worth it in the long run. It creates real, substantive change that makes everyone’s life just that much better.
Too bad no one in either of these cities has the guts to try it.