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‘Gun control not the answer,’ says law enforcement magazine editor

An unidentified police officer examines bullet damage to a car in Santa Barbara, and now the editor of Police Magazine says gun control is not the answer to such crimes.
An unidentified police officer examines bullet damage to a car in Santa Barbara, and now the editor of Police Magazine says gun control is not the answer to such crimes.Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

The editor of POLICE Magazine, one of the nation’s premier law enforcement publications, published an editorial Tuesday blasting the clamor for additional gun laws in response to the Santa Barbara killing spree, asserting bluntly, “you could have taken away every gun from every law-abiding American and outlawed the manufacture and sale of guns and this killer would have still found a way to leave his mark.”

David Griffith, who has served as editor at POLICE since 2001, said that the Isla Vista killer, who murdered three victims with a knife, was simply evil. He explained that “evil is a hard thing to treat and an even harder thing to contain.”

“Unfortunately,” wrote Griffith, an award-winning magazine journalist, “I’m not sure that anything other than early police intervention, permanent confinement, or a bullet to the brain could have stopped the Isla Vista killer.”

The editorial comes as a Democrat lawmaker in New Jersey, State Sen. Richard Codey, yesterday proposed legislation to create a “gun violence restraining order.” This was one week after two California Democrats proposed the same thing, which would essentially allow police to seize guns based on hearsay reports from friends, family members or intimate partners of gun owners.

The California measure is sponsored by Assemblyman Das Williams (Santa Barbara) and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (Berkeley). It would let police “investigate threats and ask a judge to issue an order prohibiting firearms purchases and possession,” according to CNN.

Scott Bach, a New Jersey attorney and head of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, told a reporter that such legislation requires safeguards “to prevent abuse by persons who might fundamentally disagree with gun ownership.” No doubt Bach is aware that many gun rights advocates consider the Garden State to be an anti-gun political gulag, and his argument hints strongly that he does not want law enforcement there to be given powers commensurate with the old Soviet KGB.

When it comes to law enforcement, Griffith’s editorial observations might carry a bit more weight than the political grandstanding of anti-gunners in two of the most gun-restrictive states in the nation. Likewise, his opinion might be more objective than that of Richard Martinez, the attorney whose son was one of the Santa Barbara victims, and who has become sudden sensation in the gun control movement. Griffith was understanding, yet critical, of Martinez.

“Richard Martinez, father of one of the victims, lashed out at the NRA, blaming the pro-Second Amendment organization and politicians that support gun rights for the death of his son,” Griffith wrote. “I sympathize with Martinez and I am sorry for his loss, but he seems to have selective amnesia over the fact that half of the students killed during the Isla Vista incident were hacked to death with an as-yet-unidentified blade and many of the injured were rammed by the killer's BMW sedan.”

Griffith also is critical of how the press covered the killing spree, observing, “After a mass murder incident like Isla Vista, the media loves to run a lot of stories that imply such tragedies would surely be a thing of the past if we could just outlaw all the guns. Those same reporters rarely consider how much damage this killer could have done in a crowded classroom with a blade.”

Ultimately, gun rights activists suggest, the press and politicians are more interested in the damage that can be done to the Second Amendment.