Should gang warfare in California dictate gun laws?

AP Photo/Wilson Ring

The state of California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation. This is indisputable.

Despite all of those laws, they still have plenty of problems. At least, that’s how most people might look at it. After all, aren’t those laws meant to keep those problems in check?

Unfortunately, when things go sideways in there, such as another gang shootout, some will start to think the problem lies elsewhere, which is true. The real problem has nothing to do with guns.

It’s just too bad some want to take bad policies and implement them elsewhere. Yet a piece at the Washington Examiner notes that gang shootouts in California aren’t a reason for the rest of the country to suffer.

Everytown took to Twitter to lament that a “dispute” in Los Angeles led to a shooting in which two people were killed and five more wounded. “When guns are in the mix, arguments can become deadly,” the group tweeted. “We don’t have to live like this.”

But this was not some heated argument or a simple “dispute.” According to police, this was a gang-related shooting, making it very likely that the shooters involved had guns that were not legally acquired or that they were not legally allowed to carry.

On top of that, this shooting occurred in California, a state that Everytown itself ranks as the top state for “gun law strength.” According to the group’s website, “California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and leads the nation in having the most comprehensive system for removing firearms from those who are legally prohibited from having a gun.”

In other words, this isn’t a case of “easy access to guns” being the problem. Especially since there’s really no such thing in California. Not as the rest of the country views it, anyway.

The problems in this case are many. George Gascon, the LA County DA, refuses to prosecute a lot of criminals, for one thing, even as he pushes gun control.

But beyond that, there are cultural issues at play here. Los Angeles was, at least once upon a time, the epicenter of gang crime in the nation. Many of us old enough can recall numerous reports on gang violence in southcentral LA back in the 1990s. Movies illustrated those parts of Los Angeles as the epitome of “gritty streets,” even as the rest of the city played up the glamor of Hollywood.

Those areas of Los Angeles aren’t inherently better. They didn’t suddenly become the epicenter of a new, peaceful hippy movement. They didn’t become centers for higher education. They’re still gang central.

If you hope to end these kinds of shootings, you cannot pretend that you don’t start with the individuals who are doing this. You have to pluck the weed up root and stem early.

Where people and weeds differ, though, is that people can change. They can be taught better. They can be provided with opportunities and help to change their nature so that they’re no longer a plague on their communities.

And, frankly, this sounds like something people like Gov. Gavin Newsom and Gascon would trip over themselves to support, only they don’t.

Instead, they want what happened in the San Pedro part of LA to somehow dictate to the rest of us how we should curtail our rights.

Hard pass.

Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET