Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gun Summit Follies

I haven't written anything yet about the infamous "Gun Summit" that New York City mayor Bloomberg held yesterday. For one thing, it's silly posturing by mayors who need cover for their inability to solve their cities' crime problem.

They're scapegoating guns and impugning law-abiding gun owners. They can't get to the heart of the matter--that crime is committed by relatively small numbers (scroll to statement by Assemblyman Townsend) of their citizens living in relatively compact areas. Solutions to these problems are difficult for a number of reasons, so instead they go after inanimate objects.

At the same time, these mayors from Boston, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Dallas and a few other cities get to pat themselves on the back and try to deflect blame from themselves by saying the Federal government is not enacting gun control across the board. Let's not only blame inanimate objects, let's pass the buck to the Feds.

Reading the list of cities gave me pause. First the mayor from Milwaukee is there. Hello Mayor Tom Barrett, don't you remember that the NRA is having it's convention in your city in a month? Your city will benefit by NRA member spending and you're bitching about guns. Also, why do I think about a large rifle when I read his name? (Okay, low blow, but too good not to mention.)

Second, why is Dallas Mayor Laura Miller attending? I've read she's anti-gun, but how did a Texan city elect a non-gunnie? Hell, if all were right in the world, she'd have shown up at the "Summit" supporting concealed carry permits and looking for the nearest shooting range.

Finally, Boston Mayor Tom "Mumbles" Menino says that he talked to a sixth-grade class in which nine out of ten students knew where they could get a gun. Now if the students weren't thinking of a gun store, it speaks not to the number of illegal guns on the street, but to the efficiency of the black market. Making all guns illegal or extremely hard to get legally as they have done in Massachusetts only helps black markets.

Think about this Mayor Menino: Thirty or more years of a drug war haven't reduced the amount of illegal drugs on the streets. Making handguns illegal in Britain hasn't stopped English criminals from finding handguns, and we're talking about a relatively small island. Probibition didn't stop alcohol consumption in America. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had black markets even though their police had virtually unlimited power.

The issue is not the availability of guns on the legal market or even guns that are diverted by theft, straw purchases, or other means into the illegal market. The issue is why do people commit crimes with those guns, and also with knives, hammers, machetes, or even fists. Solving that problem will take real work. Posturing at a Gun Summit is not real work.

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