Gun ban have been suggested a fair bit recently. These recommendations have arisen and been repeated on the heals of firearm related crimes involving high-profile people. Oscar Pistorius’ friend Darren Fresco relayed a story to the court in which Pistorius discharged his weapon while he was driving the Paralympian track star and his then girlfriend Samantha Taylor. Meanwhile Raymond Felton of the New York Knicks National Basketball Association team was recently arrested for brandishing a firearm during a domestic dispute. In light of dangerous misbehavior involving celebrities and their firearms, some voices such as Violence Policy Center and columnist for the Detroit Metro Times Jack Essenberry, suggest that merely more stringent background checks and waiting periods is not sufficient. Rather, such parties have called for a ban on gun ownership across the country. Unfortunately for people hoping for gun ownership reduction via legislation, this will simply be an exercise in futility.
The United States has a long history of personal ownership of firearms. American rifle, pistol, and shotgun owners have made it abundantly clear that they will not voluntarily turn their weapons into the government. According to the website gunpolicy.org, the United States is home to over 200 million personally owned guns. In order for the federal or state governments to enact the dis-ownership widespread support by gun owners would be necessary. In absence of such support, enforcement is extremely difficult, and indeed impossible for all practical purposes. Voluntary gun surrenders in countries like Canada and Australia had some success for that very reason; people were somewhat supportive of the measure. Firearm owners in the U.S. are not.
The website laws.com references a study stating that five out of six felons who acquire guns do so through the back market or via theft. When one considers this, they should understand the ease with which criminals can and will procure small arms. Not only does this illustrate the ability of criminals in this country to circumvent the law, but the ease with which otherwise law-abiding citizens can do likewise, should they be determined enough. Procuring banned items and services, whether they be marijuana, gambling opportunities, or a 9mm, is virtually as easy as desiring one. The recent liberalization of pot laws in the states of Colorado and Washington echo back to this understanding. To reference an already made point, ownership of a black market product is really only reduced via lack of market demand.
The left-leaning Huffington Post featured an interesting commentary by Massachusetts Democratic Representative Paul Heroux some time ago. He states that one-size-fits-all solutions such as universal gun bans rarely work. Rather, the representative states such overreaction really only results in ineffective legislation. Throughout his article, Heroux repeats that correlation does not equal causation; he is referring to the correlation of more legal guns to more gun-related homicide.
It is fair to say that everyone wants to ban criminals from owning firearms, including other criminals; how much easier would business be for Aspiring Pimp and Drug Kingpin “A” if his rival Aspiring Pimp and Drug Kingpin “B” was prevented from arming himself? The dilemma is that reducing legal procurement will not provide society with that benefit; just ask our friend Aspiring Pimp and Drug Kingpin “A.” The only result is that police are left with an unenforceable legal code, and those whose incentive is protection against crime are treated the same as those whose intent is to commit crime.
Opinion By Ian Erickson