Time and time again, we see people claiming that we need to pass gun control laws because parts of our cities are lawless hellscapes for the people who live there. Then you have people like me who, while sympathetic to what those folks are going through, know that gun control doesn’t really do what proponents claim it does.
Instead, gun control only really hurts the law-abiding.
The problem is that so few people seem to really grasp that. Yes, the Second Amendment community does, but the rest of the world? Not so much.
Jamal West is part of an anti-violence group called Roca that works closely with high-risk young men in Baltimore. Born and raised in the city, he is all too familiar with what’s happening in these streets.
“We have guys in our program who don’t go to work unless they have a gun on them,” Jamal told me. “They’re scared somebody might see them at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning from a rival gang.”
A nonprofit called the Community Justice Action Fund connects policymakers across the country with organizations like Roca that deal with gun violence on the ground.
“We really want to make sure that solutions to end gun violence come from the community and are not prescribed by some outside group that’s making judgment calls on people,” said Gregory Jackson, executive director of the nonprofit.
He says gun control legislation misses the mark.
Baltimore’s assault weapons ban and background checks on handgun sales haven’t stopped people from getting a hold of firearms illegally, nor have they deterred violent crime.
“In the communities that we’re working in and we’re advocating for, unfortunately a lot of them are already saturated with guns,” Jackson said. “And so frankly, when we look at addressing gun violence in Black and brown communities, we know that you can’t just focus on the hardware. We have to also focus on the people, and how do we make sure that they are in better living conditions.”
Look, I understand the gun control argument that if you make it harder for law-abiding citizens to get guns, you make it harder for the criminals. I see why they say that. They’re just wrong.
Criminals aren’t flocking to gun stores to buy guns. The majority are purchased on the black market, not in gun stores. How does making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to get guns impact black market sales?
Our inner cities–where much of this crime is localized–are awash with illegal guns already. New laws aren’t really going to change that. I mean, do you really think someone intent on murdering a rival is going to be deterred from getting a gun illegally? I mean, if laws were going to deter him, you’d think that whole law against murder would do the trick, but if that doesn’t, then what new law will?
Nothing. No law, no regulation will stop these people.
You have to look at it a different way. You’ve got to focus not on the tool but the tool using it. You have to recognize that so-called gun violence isn’t a gun problem, but a people problem. It’s a problem because people have no respect for life and no idea how to solve disagreements with anything other than a gun.
We have reconstituted the honor society of the old days, only without the formal rules you saw in dueling, so as a result, innocent people get hurt as well.
Something has to be done, and what states like Maryland have tried to do clearly hasn’t worked. It’s time to do something different instead.