Six paragraphs into yesterday’s report by the Washington Times on President Obama’s preference for new gun laws over prosecution of criminals who break existing laws, a law professor and historian at George Washington University defined the feel-good mentality of the anti-gun left succinctly.
“For a lot of people,” observed Robert Cottrol, “there’s more ideological [cachet] harassing Bubba at the gun show than getting a handle on gun crime.”
Examiner traded e-mail with Cottrol this morning. He recalled speaking with the Times reporter and noted, "The point I was making was that the administration and gun control advocates generally are more interested in getting new gun laws and going after law abiding gun owners than going after criminals who misuse guns."
Wednesday’s article noted that federal gun crime prosecutions under Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have plummeted in comparison to the final year of the George Bush administration. Under Bush, there were 6,791 cases brought by federal prosecutors during that final year. Last year, that number had dropped to 5,082 cases.
This is not late-breaking news. Last December, Yahoo News reported the same thing, though its data had different numbers. The outcome was still the same: Fewer prosecutions under the current administration.
BULLETIN: The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting this morning that an arrest has been made in last weekend’s shooting death of an 11-year-old girl during the city’s on-going bloodbath. The suspect is identified as 18-year-old Tevin Lee, whose age, alone, precludes him from carrying a gun under the new Illinois concealed carry law, and Chicago’s more restrictive gun ordinance. He also reportedly has known gang ties.
In his remarks to the Washington Times, Cottrol also noted, “We have this irony. The Obama administration, which is asking for more in the way of gun regulations — in terms of increased background checks for private sales and at gun shows — is actually prosecuting less of the gun laws already on the books.”
More than 18 months ago, the Washington Post reported on Obama’s plan to get tough on criminals with guns. However, several tenets in his agenda had nothing to do with putting thugs in jail, but only inconveniencing law-abiding gun owners.
Among other things, he wanted to expand background checks to all gun sales, reinstate the ban on so-called “assault weapons,” restore a 10-round magazine capacity limit, and ban so-called “armor piercing bullets.” There were also provisions for making sure health insurance plans cover mental health treatment, and providing mental health treatment to young people.
Also, the president wanted to restart “gun violence research,” which had allegedly become more propaganda than fact during the Clinton administration, according to critics. But with what the Washington Times said was a 42 percent decline in prosecutions between 2004 and 2013, the administration has to find a bogeyman, so gun shows and gun owners are back in the bull’s eye.
The Times article also had a statement from Robert Sanders, a former assistant director with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It’s an observation confirmed by other ATF sources who have left the agency.
“Within the later part of the Bush years,” Sanders told the newspaper, “case selections within the ATF have gone from mostly violent crime cases — which is their forte — toward the regulatory, where they look at dealers, manufacturers and trafficking cases. The agency’s philosophy has shifted to guns are the problem and access to guns are the problem, rather than the criminal being the direct indicator of crime.”
If Cottrol and Sanders are correct, the current push by gun control proponents has far less to do with fighting crime than it does with eroding the Second Amendment. Gun prohibitionists are more interested in discouraging gun ownership with costly red tape agendas that even police don’t support, rather than putting the bad people in jail and leaving the good citizens alone.