No, Increased Gun Sales Don't Justify Permits In St. Louis

I get that Saint Louis, Missouri has a high violent crime rate. I understand that perfectly well. I even sympathize with them over it. Frankly, if it were just the criminals killing each other, I probably wouldn’t have much sympathy, but since they don’t confine their violence to their own numbers, it becomes a problem for the rest of the city.

Like I said, I get that.

Yet what the other side of the gun debate never seems to get is that it’s not the law-abiding gun owners faults that criminals using illegally obtained firearms are shooting up entire neighborhoods.

That’s precisely what a recent op-ed misses when it argues that increased gun sales make it urgent that Saint Louis be able to require permits for purchase.

In St. Louis and around the nation, gun sales have skyrocketed as citizens become increasingly nervous about the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. It’s a natural, even understandable reaction to these frightening times — but guns and potential social unrest are an intrinsically dangerous mix.

St. Louis officials have previously asked for the power to require permits for guns carried within the city, seeking an exception to the wild-west approach that the Republican-controlled Legislature has mandated statewide. City officials should press that case again, and the Legislature should listen this time.

Of course, the editorial continues to argue that those who are concerned about unrest aren’t out of line, which is good. Far too many people seem to believe those concerns are completely unfounded, some even mocking the concern.

The problem, of course, is that they don’t leave it there. The editorial board seems to believe that such concerns actually justify restricting people’s constitutionally-protected rights.

Those who are worried about civil unrest should be demanding a permit requirement. Law-abiding citizens would have no problem meeting it, and it would make it harder for criminals to commit armed violence — during pandemic-induced unrest, or at any other time. In light of the new wave of weaponry hitting the streets, Republican lawmakers should reconsider this eminently reasonable request from the city.

Well, that’s just weapons-grade stupid right there.

Criminals are already barred from legally purchasing firearms. They are required to go through the same background check requirement everyone else does at the gun store and, as such, can’t purchase them from there. This is federal law and states can’t make that requirement go away, even if they wanted to.

Yet criminals continue to get guns at prodigious rates. Why is that? Maybe because they don’t follow the law? After all, we know that criminals obtain their firearms through criminal means.

Permitting isn’t going to stop them. It never has. Look at Chicago, for example. The entire state requires a FOID to buy a gun, yet criminals continue to get firearms without much of an issue.

Let’s say that we accept the official Chicago position that these guns are the result of lax gun laws in Indiana and other states–it’s bull, but let’s run with it for the sake of argument. At least in Illinois, you have to cross state lines to buy a gun.

Yet if Saint Louis is the only city to require a permit, avoiding such a requirement is as easy as crossing the city limits. Do you really think if ti’s that easy to circumvent that it would do anything even if permitting somehow worked, which it doesn’t?

Claims about needing a permitting scheme is nothing more than governmental laziness. The City of Saint Louis doesn’t want to delve any deeper to address their problems with violence than to blame the tool. They’re afraid they might get called names if they step up and focus on the problem neighborhoods and the problem people.

So, instead, they’ll seek to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights, not because it works but because they’re just too damn lazy to do anything else.