If Gun Control Saves Lives, Then Why are California and New York State so Dangerous?

A few disturbed young men want to become famous by killing innocent people. Each time they try, we are told that we need to take guns away from honest citizens. That proposal isn’t new. Gun-prohibitionists passed severe gun-control laws decades ago in a few Democrat controlled states. Let’s see if that made us safer. Based on recent evidence from New York State and California, it did not.

You don’t have to take my word for it when I say that California and New York have strict gun-control laws. Take the opinion of the Giffords gun-control group funded by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Giffords gives California an A rating and New York an A-.

Laws like this are why-

  • There are many models of firearms that ordinary citizens can’t own in New York and California.
  • Ordinary citizens must pass background checks when they purchase a handgun at a gun store or at a gun show. In California, there is also a mandatory background check before we may buy ammunition. New York proposed similar ammunition restrictions.
  • California has a mandatory ten-day waiting period after we submit our background check and before we may take possession of our firearm. There is also an additional one-gun-a-month restriction. New York also requires a license before we are allowed to own a handgun.
  • Both states have a magazine capacity limit that reduces the number of cartridges that a firearm magazine may hold.
  • Both states have “Red Flag laws” that allow family members, romantic partners, schoolteachers, doctors, and the police to request that we be disarmed. We are not present when a “Red Flag” hearing is held to confiscate our guns.
  • Both California and New York require statement of “demonstrated need” before honest citizens like us are granted a permit to carry a concealed firearm in public. In many cities, those permits are only given to judges, politicians, and to campaign donors. The rate of concealed carry is far lower in New York State and in California compared to the rest of the US.
  • Schools are “gun-free” zones and even school staff are disarmed.

We were told that gun-control would keep us safe. Last year, California had the most active-shooter incidents of any state in the nation. This year, we saw mass-murders and attempted mass-murders in New York state and even in New York City.

How could these gun control laws fail so badly? Here are a few of the many reasons that gun-control fails time after time-

  • It is obvious that criminals don’t obey the law. In particular, criminals ignore our gun laws. They don’t buy their guns legally or register their guns. Criminals don’t really care about breaking our gun-laws after they’ve decided to assault, rob, rape, or murder.
  • Gun control laws change the behavior of honest people who obey the law. It is easy to forget that honest citizens use a firearm for self-defense thousands of times every day. Ten honest citizens defend themselves with their firearms for each time a criminal possesses a gun in the commission of a crime. Writing good laws isn’t easy, and it is hard for our gun-control laws to disarm violent perpetrators without also disarming the innocent victims of crime.

Armed victims have a real effect on crime. For example, ordinary citizens can get their carry permits in Pennsylvania. In sharp contrast, it is much harder to get a carry permit in New York State. It is impossible for ordinary citizens to secure a permit in New York City. The same is true in San Francisco and Los Angeles. When we look at the data, the rate of violent crime is lower in Pennsylvania than in New York State.

I understand that there are complex reasons for increased rates of crime. We wish that disarming the good guys would somehow disarm the bad guys. That doesn’t work, and gun-control has not made us safer in New York and California.

Changing our focus, we see that mass-murder has dynamics of its own. There, response time is everything. Once the attack starts, it takes us several minutes to escape the murderer and call the police. Police arrive about ten to twelve minutes after they are called. The murderer is unoposed for almost a quarter of an hour if we wait for the police to stop him. It isn’t the weapon that makes this such a dangerous situation. Mass murderers attack gun-free zones so that they are the only one who is armed.

The police are not perfect and we’ve seen them respond to the wrong location. When the police do get to the right place, the officers are not required to enter the building to stop the murderer. We have seen several examples in the last decade where the police refused to enter the building. The police stayed outside even as innocent people were being murdered inside. When the police do respond with force, we’ve seen the police shoot the wrong person. In general, it is better for us to stop the murderer before the police arrive.

Why do we have laws that don’t work? Of course we feel horrible when we learn about people being hurt or killed. Politicians want to appear effective so they “do something” to make us feel better. Unfortunately, we feel better even if that “something” doesn’t actually reduce violent crime. Perhaps there was a time when the news media did research and asked tough questions to find out what worked, but that isn’t true today.

We are now the quality control department for our politicians and the news media. We have to identify when legislation doesn’t work. We have to ask why the next gun-control law will work when the 23-thousand firearms regulations we already have did not stop criminals from using guns.

This time let’s do something that stops the criminal and saves the victims.

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