Why pass new gun laws when old ones not being used?

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

There are thousands of gun laws on the books in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels. Tons of regulations dictating what one can and cannot do with a firearm sit in law books all over the place.


What’s more, there’s an entire industry devoted to creating more laws regulating firearms.

Yet, as Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso, why bother passing new laws when the old ones aren’t being used?

In New Orleans, a former Innocence Project lawyer named Emily Maw is currently serving as an assistant district attorney. And it is going about as well as you would expect.

Maw is now the focus of controversy for declining to press charges in at least 15 gun crimes that occurred over the Mardi Gras season. These crimes included at least one egregious case in which the defendant was carrying around a machine gun — a federal crime that carries a lengthy prison sentence. That particular defendant also had prior convictions, according to local news reports.

Yet instead of prosecuting these crimes, Maw let these defendants off the hook, on the condition that they surrender their guns.

There’s a big problem with this approach. You remember that old saw about how guns don’t kill people, people kill people? Well, it’s not just some NRA talking point. It’s actually true.


Now, understand that I oppose pretty much every gun control law on the books. There are none that I can think of that I support.

However, if you’re going to try to convince me that we need new gun laws, you’re going to need to show me that the existing laws just aren’t enough despite everyone’s best, good-faith efforts.

When I was a kid, there was a toy I wanted. While out with my mom, I asked her if I could get it. She pointed out that I had pretty much the same toy at home and rarely played with it, so why should she buy me another one?

Gun laws aren’t toys, obviously, but the point remains. If prosecutors are going to allow machine-gun armed felons to walk, why should anyone support a new round of gun laws in order to combat violent crime?

We see a lot of violent crime, and our default tends to be to point out how the gun laws in question simply aren’t working. However, we generally don’t know if the laws aren’t working or if they’re not being allowed to work. Not definitively, at least.

I side on them not actually doing anything, but a lot of people disagree. They’re comfortable with these laws and don’t want to see them go.


Yet those laws accomplish even less than nothing if they’re not actually used as described.

Freddoso is right to call this out. Sure, the fact that the assistant DA worked for the Innocence Project shouldn’t matter–they use DNA evidence to get innocent people out of prison, something we should all be glad to see–but the fact that she’s refusing to prosecute some serious firearms-related crimes is.

When one of these people hurts or kills someone, there isn’t likely to be any repercussions on her for allowing them back on the streets. That would be bad enough, but then someone would use that incident to try and justify still more gun laws.

And that’s just the icing on the excrement-filled cake.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member