It’s the criminals, stupid!

The Brady Bunch has recently released another of their “reports”, called “The NRA: A Criminal’s Best Friend.” It consists of the typical anguished bleating of the gun rights deprivation lobby–their standard response to efforts to lift some of the more draconian (not to mention ineffectual) gun laws with which our country is saddled.

Readers of the “report” will find many references to the NRA “handcuffing,” and “hamstringing” federal law enforcement efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Richard Pennington, chief of the Atlanta, Georgia police, is quoted as advocating putting ” . . . handcuffs on the NRA’s lobbyists.” Apparently, he hates the Second Amendment so much that he is willing to push for stomping on the First Amendment rights of those who would dare fight for the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

The NRA backed legislation that seems to be the particualr focus of all this ire is fairly innocuocs–H.R. 5092, which would merely make permanent measures implemented for the last several years, prohibiting public release of gun trace data; H.R. 5005, which would make provisions for fining gun dealers who inadvertently commit minor paperwork errors, as opposed to the current situation, in which there is no middle ground between warnings and license revocation; and H.R. 1384, which would lift worthless and onerous restrictions on interstate handgun sales.

The gun rights deprivation lobby’s ostensible reason for whining so piteously about these bills is that they would “help to put guns in the hands of criminals.” Let’s talk about that, shall we? A huge majority of gun laws (both on the books and proposed) are intended to prevent sale of guns to criminals. That sounds good on the face of it, but consider–if a person is considered too dangerous to be allowed to go into a gun store and purchase a gun, how can he be trusted not to steal a gun? How can he be trusted not to buy one on the black market (and no combination of laws will shut down the black market–if that were possible, the “war on drugs” would have been won a long time ago)? How can he be trusted, even if somehow prevented from getting a gun, not to kill with some other implement?

If we want criminals to stop killing people, we need to keep them locked up. Our criminal “justice system” has become a system of catch and release, with violent, repeat offenders back on the streets in a tiny fraction of the time they should be incarcerated. If prison overcrowding is a problem–tough. Prison isn’t supposed to be comfortable.

The criminals’ best friend? The system that isn’t willing to do the hard work of holding them responsible for their crimes.

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