A lot of people on the American left support gun control. As free men and women, they have the right to hold any position they so desire. I don’t have to agree with them, though, and I don’t.
Yet, oddly enough, many also harbor some deep anti-police sentiments. They want to reform policing in this country to such a degree that, at least in some cases, there likely wouldn’t be much in the way of police officers on our streets.
This is desirable, you see, because the police arrest people, many of them young, black men and that cannot be permitted or something.
An op-ed over at Newsweek, however, brings up an important point. If you want to reduce the number of police, you cannot have gun control.
In the wake of two recent mass shootings, at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee and inside a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, familiar arguments have been playing out in cable news studios and throughout the Twittersphere. “The solution is obvious!” We’re told authoritatively by gun control advocates. “We want more gun control, and we want it now!”
But another debate puts the lie to that demand—or rather, reveals the stark tradeoff that gun control advocates are forcing on the victims of gun violence, thanks to another one of their demands, namely, for police reform and decarceration. For some time now, the gun control debate has been playing out alongside another debate about the proper role of policing and incarceration as a response to rising crime, and many of the prominent voices calling for more stringent gun regulation in the former debate are also well-known voices pushing to curtail the power of law enforcement institutions in the latter.
But you simply can’t demand both that people relinquish their guns and that the police be denuded of the power to protect them from criminals. It’s impossible to square calls for more gun control with the positions many of the advocates making those calls hold on matters of policing and criminal justice. Existing gun regulations are essentially meaningless empty threats without the will to enforce them, and additional restrictions would be rendered even more superfluous by efforts to actively undermine the very institutions tasked with such enforcement.
The author, Raphael A. Mangual, is obviously quite correct.
It’s one thing to believe that we don’t need guns because we have the police. It’s another to think that we don’t need the police. Saying we don’t need guns to protect us because we have the police, but we shouldn’t have the police makes absolutely no sense.
Even if you’re talking about reducing the number of police in this country, you’re then reducing their ability to protect the people you want to disarm.
It just makes no sense.
And that’s just one aspect of this conflicting argument that’s preposterous.
Another is that in order for gun control to have any meaning, it must be enforced. That means we need law enforcement to enforce the law–I mean, it’s kind of in the name and everything. So, if gun control laws are enforced, guess who is going to be disproportionately impacted?
Young, black men.
We know that to be the case not because of racism, but statistics. They’re currently the ones who get arrested and convicted for weapons charges more than any other group. There’s zero reason to believe that would change suddenly.
So yeah, you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too.
You can either reduce law enforcement to a shadow of its former self, or you can support gun control because you believe people should trust in law enforcement to save them. What you can’t do with any semblance of logic, however, is argue for both.