Barr: Too many lawmakers looking in the wrong direction

J. Scott Applewhite

Former Rep. Bob Barr may not be in Congress anymore, but he still has a voice via a weekly column he writes.

We normally don’t talk much about it because the former congressman talks about a lot of different issues and, well, we don’t.

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We talk about guns and gun control.

And this week, so is he.

From the east coast to the Pacific Northwest, the past week once again confirmed that Democrat political leaders prefer to address the serious problem of gun crime in America as a political rather than a law enforcement and mental health problem.

In Washington state, Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law outlawing the sale of AR-style rifles. Inslee wrongly but sanctimoniously stated that such “weapons of war” have as their “only purpose” murdering people. Conveniently ignored by the Governor is the fact that the AR is the most popular rifle in the country, used regularly by millions of law-abiding citizens for competition, hunting, and self-defense.

In the nearby, and also Democrat-led state of Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis lamented that he was not yet legislatively empowered to outlaw the same rifle, but pompously declared that by forcing citizens in the state to wait three days before being permitted to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to purchase a firearm, he was making it “safe” for them to go to the grocery store.

Similarly, if Blue-State governors such as Inslee and Polis focused on improving law enforcement and mental health facilities in their states, rather than restricting the ability of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms for self-defense and other lawful purposes, communities in those and other states would be far safer.

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Barr is far from wrong here.

The truth of the matter is that guns aren’t the cause of violent crime, nor are they a symptom. They’re simply a thing that bad guys use to do bad things. If you remove that, you don’t stop the problem. At most, you shift it in a different direction.

Improving law enforcement and mental health services, however, can actually accomplish a whole lot more. They can actually stop these horrific events from ever happening.

Now, Barr isn’t the only person to call this kind of thing out, but that doesn’t make it any less important or accurate that he’s doing so now.

In fact, we all need to do just that.

See, all too often, gun control advocates like to pretend we’re not interested in solutions simply because we don’t like their solutions. It’s imperative that we push actual solutions, things that will not just stop these terrible crimes from taking place but also help countless people otherwise.

There’s absolutely no losing here, and yet it’s simply not happening.

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Polis and Inslee are taking a gun control stance because it’s politically expedient and popular, not because it will do much of anything.

Let’s remember that Colorado in particular started down this gun control road because of a mass shooting, yet none of the measures they’ve implemented have stopped numerous other such shootings.

Improved mental health resources, though, might have.

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