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Do Cops Need To Carry Guns?

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              Now that the surge in gun violence seems to be getting worse while the spread of Covid-19 seems to be getting better, I’m waiting for my friends in Gun-control Nation and my friends in Gun-nut Nation to come up with a new theory as to why so many Americans are walking around shooting at so many other Americans on a daily basis. 

              Here’s the basic argument that divides the two sides: More guns mean more gun violence versus more guns means more people can protect themselves from violence. So, either we take the guns away from people who use them to commit violence, or we take guns away from people who use them to protect themselves from violence.

              But the one group whose access to guns has never previously been questioned, and this group happens to use guns for both purposes, are the cops. After all, cops use guns to shoot people, which is the definition of gun violence, and they also use guns to protect themselves and others from people who would commit violence, right?

              It turns out that this question has now become an issue in the heated New York City mayoralty campaign when Maya Wiley, the ‘progressive’ candidate, who has been endorsed by that Communist or whatever-she-is rabblerouser, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, stated in a debate that she ‘wasn’t sure’ whether NYPD officers should be walking around with guns.

              Wiley got slammed by all the other Democratic candidates who couldn’t get over their joy in being able to shit attention away from having to explain exactly how they would go about cleaning up the mess that has been created by eight years of Bill DeBlasio’s tenure in City Hall, with our friend Eric Adams saying how ‘alarmed’ he was that someone would want to take away the tools needed by the cops to deal with the ‘thousands’ of guns flooding the city’s streets.

              The only problem with what Adams and the other mayoral candidates is saying is that it’s really not clear whether there really is a connection between the cops protecting the city from crime and the cops walking around with guns. The idea that a cop needs to have a Glock on his hip while he stands in the middle of an intersection directing traffic has never been questioned except there have just been too many recent incidents where cops shot the wrong people with their guns.

              So far this year, at least 400 people have been shot and killed by cops, although the rate of cop shootings is actually slightly lower than it has been in any year since 2015. So far in June, there have been at least 20 fatal cop shootings around the United States and in only one case was the shooting caught by a body cam, so we have to rely on the account by the shooters themselves as to what actually took place. And I hate to say it, but why should we assume that how a cop describes why he shot someone is necessarily more accurate than how a civilian describes doing the same thing?

              My friends who do research on gun violence are always quick to trot out the idea that we suffer so many shootings because we are the only country which gives all law-abiding residents access to guns. Wouldn’t the same argument apply to cops?

              The United States has a rate of cop killings which is 10 to 20 times higher than any other country in the OECD, which is about the same difference in the number of guns floating around between the U.S. and the rest of the OECD

              The cops will tell you that the reason they need to carry guns is because all the ‘bad guys’ out there have guns. But there have just been too many cop shootings recently, like the shooting of Patrick Warren in Killeen, TX where the victim was completely unarmed.

              I know cops have a tough job. I know they are underpaid, underappreciated, and usually undertrained. But that doesn’t change the fact that a Glock in anyone’s hands is a threat to public safety, okay?

Gun Violence | TeeTee Press

Will More Gun Laws Make Us Safer?

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We may be headed for Round 2 of the Washington gun debate, but if the current battle lines are not redrawn, little will emerge.  The two sides are so polarized that any sensible reforms will disappear in the vast middle space between the two extremes.  The NRA and its allies believe that gun violence can be solved by controlling people – enforcing laws and increasing punishments for those who use guns to commit crimes.  The other side believes that gun violence can be solved by controlling guns – regulating access to make it more difficult for guns to fall into the wrong hands.

My organization – Evolve – was established to find a way for the two sides to meet in the middle.  Making us safe from gun violence requires aggressive enforcement of existing laws as well as more effective methods for keeping guns out of the wrong hands.  But binding those strategies together requires a commitment for self-prevention, a commitment that should be led by gun owners ourselves.

Aggressive enforcement means there has to be better coordination between federal agencies that track the movement of guns and local police departments that respond to felonies committed with guns.  But why would a homicide detective in Trenton, NJ, care whether a gun was originally sold in a gun shop in Texas, when all he wants to do is solve the crime?  He’s paid to close the case, not to worry about how the gun ended up in his town.  In fact no police department in the country is actually required to trace guns that are picked up in their jurisdiction.  Some do, some don’t.  Even federal law enforcement agencies were not required to trace weapons until President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum on January 16.

As for controlling access to guns, extending background checks to private transactions is a no-brainer, even though the NRA leadership is working overtime to sell its opposition to a membership that wants this done.   The fact that the movie shooter in Aurora passed a background check is beside the point.  Any procedure that keeps guns in the hands of qualified users isn’t an attack on the 2nd Amendment, it’s just common sense.  Most people who sell guns privately do it not to avoid background checks, but because it’s convenient.  They don’t see any tangible connection between selling their gun in one place and a homicide or armed robbery that occurs somewhere else.

But there is a connection.  Every single gun that enters the consumer market goes through multiple transactions (manufacturer – wholesaler – retailer – customer) that are recorded and diligently checked by the ATF.  At some point the guns that are used in the carnage of gun violence leave those legal owners and end up in the wrong hands.  Whether the gun moved from the right hands to the wrong hands because it was sold, or lost, or stolen, or kept loaded in the living room, the truth is that a legal gun owner wasn’t diligent about protecting the gun.

At EVOLVE we believe the key to ending gun violence is to create a self-prevention movement against gun violence led by gun owners like myself.  Why gun owners?  Because more than anyone else, we understand the value and pride of gun ownership, as well as the risks of irresponsible use, storage and sale of guns.   We have no quarrel with the NRA.  The 2nd Amendment is tried and true. But let’s not pretend that gun rights should trump human rights.  They can co-exist in harmony and peace.

One of my best customers came into my shop recently and told me that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and probably had less than six months to live.  Before he died he wanted to make sure that his precious guns would go to the right hands.  So we made an appointment for his children to come to the shop together so that he could register all the gun transfers to them at the same time.  This man is not only passing on his legacy, he’s also passing on his commitment to responsible ownership of guns.

 

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