Have you heard the old joke about the blonde who lost a contact? A man approaches her as she’s on her hands and knees in the middle of the sidewalk under a street light. “Can I help you ma’am?”
“Oh yes!” she says relieved to have some assistance, “I’ve lost my contact! I can’t see anything without it!”
The man gets down on the ground next to her and begins to help her look. Before long, there are a dozen people crawling on the sidewalk under the streetlight looking for the contact lens. After about 20 minutes of searching the man speaks up.
“Are you sure this is where you lost it?”
The blonde looks up at him and says, “No. I lost it back there.” pointing back up the sidewalk into the darkness.
The man began to beat his head against the sidewalk, “Why are we looking over here?”
The blonde responds, “Because there’s more light over here. I can’t see to look over there!”
Now, a side note to the blondes out there (true and bottled): Don’t get offended. This is the way I heard the joke, so I’m repeating it as such. My true feelings toward blondes are extremely positive. Most of the blondes I know are also some of the smartest people I know.
Taking a minute to analyze that joke you might think it’s too ridiculous to be possible. That’s what makes it funny. No one is that dumb (especially blondes). Except…
Look at some of the “Gun Safety” laws that have been proposed and/or passed around the US. They are doing the same thing as the blonde in the joke.
Late in the night on January 15, 2013 the New York State Legislature passed the New York SAFE Act. This legislation was shoved through on a dubious “Message of Necessity” by the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. He signed the bill into law the next morning.
Included in the bill was a ban on “large capacity” ammunition magazines that could hold more than 7 rounds. When the Governor realized that 7 round magazines were almost non-existent he modified the law to allow 10 round magazines, but they could only be loaded with 7 rounds. There were more problems. He forgot to exclude police officers from the ban. Oops. He had to change the law again. Also, the police reported that there was no possible way to enforce the law since they had no way to detect the number of rounds in an ammunition magazine.
Another portion of the law required background checks for all ammunition purchases. Once again, there was no way to implement the law. The state had no system in place to run those background checks. That portion of the law is still on the books, but is not yet being enforced.
The concept of “Universal Background Checks” was in the law. This means that if a New York citizen wants to give their gun to their spouse, the pair must go to a licensed gun dealer so that a background check can be performed on the spouse before that transfer can take place.
There are several other things in this law concerning guns.
“SAFE” in the title of the law is an acronym for Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement. One thing that is obvious about the names given to legislation is that acronyms are never accidents. Someone thought long and hard to make that work. They told the citizens of New York State that this law was very necessary in order to reduce gun crime in the state.
Since that is their claim, let’s look at the validity of that claim.
In our analysis, lets establish a few things:
- By definition, who commits crimes? That one’s easy. Criminals commit crimes.
- Again, by definition, do law-abiding gun owners commit crimes? Again, this one is easy. No. Law-abiding gun owners don’t commit crimes.
Now that we’ve got that straight, we can look at who this law is going to affect.
If the law says that a firearms transfer (of any kind) requires a background check, then a law-abiding gun owner is going to either go get that done or give up on the transfer. On the other hand, a criminal who wants to buy, sell, or steal a gun is going to ignore the law and do what he wants.
What is the net effect of this law then? There’s no impact on the criminal, but the law abiding gun owner is less likely to buy, sell, loan, or borrow a gun. In the long run the criminals end up with the upper hand where guns are concerned. Crime goes up.
Look at the most violent cities in the US. What is one thing they have in common? Restrictive gun laws. Just like the blonde in the joke, some legislators are looking under the street light because it’s easier. They will never find their contact that way.
First off, I loved the joke. Now, on to the rebuttal (*drum roll*).
The problem begins with the two definitions. Criminals commit crimes, but so do people who formerly were NOT criminals prior to committing a crime. Most murderers are first-time criminals by a wide margin for example, people killing someone they already know. Obviously, this means law-abiding gun owners MAY become criminals, depending upon their circumstances and choices.
The second breakdown in logic is based on making an assumption based on too narrow a set of facts. Cities and states don’t exist in a vacuum. A “more gun laws” state or city can be right next to a “less gun laws” one, and it will have an effect in both directions across borders. Some of the most violent cities, Chicago for example, have persistent gang problems, yet Illinois as a whole is one of the safest states when you take away Chicago’s numbers. Unfortunately, Indiana borders South Chicago, and it’s a less restrictive state than Illinois.
According to the CDC, who should be considered more impartial than say the NRA or the Brady Center, those states with more gun control laws TEND (with some exceptions) to have fewer gun deaths, and those with fewer restrictions tend to have more.
Hawaii, which has the lowest gun death rate, had 16 gun laws, and along with New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts was among states with the most laws and fewest deaths. States with the fewest laws and most deaths included Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma. But there were outliers: South Dakota, for example, had just two guns laws but few deaths. So other things affect the totals besides just having or not having gun control laws.
On top of this complexity and confusion, add this fact: 60% of gun deaths are suicides. Not a crime exactly, but it impacts families psychologically for generations. What type of laws would have the quickest effect on that problem, ones regarding background checks, or general restrictions?
First, thanks for reading. Second, thanks for commenting with rational discussion.
One would think that the CDC would be more impartial than either the NRA or the Brady Bunch, but the reality is that they are under the control of very liberal gun-hating leadership. Am I saying they would falsify statistics? Not really. I’m just saying I don’t trust them. I usually go to the same place they do for my crime statistics. That is the FBI.
As far as the Chicago being the victim of loose gun laws in the neighboring states, that falls apart when you realize that the surrounding areas don’t have high crime.
It’s interesting to look at the FBI crime statistics on a timeline in comparison with strong gun restrictions. Violent crime tends upward following strong restrictions. Violent crime tends downward when gun restrictions are relaxed.
I should have added that I agree completely about the problems with background checks you noted. We don’t have an effective system for them.
Right. The system is broken. Expanding it isn’t effective. Enforcing what is on the books would actually do the most to reduce the violent crime.