A column posted today on Town Hall and a story reported late last night by the Los Angeles Times add new perspectives to an old dilemma for gun prohibitionists who adhere to the “only cops should have guns” mantra, but are then corner-boxed by their own rhetoric when a policeman shoots the wrong person.
The Town Hall piece, by veteran Chicago Tribune columnist and editorial writer Steve Chapman, notes that “gun control advocates are learning the downside of getting their way.” Supporting extreme measures, that have included gun bans, are failing because the courts are ruling against them on constitutional grounds.
Chapman speaks from experience. His city has been “ground zero” for some ground-breaking legal activity on gun rights, much of it involving the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation. SAF’s 2010 Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago was the first in a string of defeats for the city’s extremist anti-gun policies that also included Ezell v. City of Chicago and, in a large sense, Moore v. Madigan and the National Rifle Association’s similar Shepard v. Madigan that forced Illinois to adopt a concealed carry law.
Chapman might have included an observation that it has been the invariable result of gun control efforts, from the White House on down, that gun sales — and in more recent times, carry permit applications — have gone up. For example, last month at this time, Examiner noted that in Washington state, more than 461,000 active concealed pistol licenses were reported by the state Department of Licensing. This column will get new data tomorrow, so watch this space.
Gun control proponents on the one hand wish to make it as difficult as possible for private citizens to have firearms. Whether it’s in the form of a gun ban, or restrictive measures like Washington’s Initiative 594, an 18-page gun control scheme that was being discussed feverishly yesterday at the Washington Arms Collectors gun show in Puyallup, each time the public sees a threat to the right to have a gun, they react accordingly, and stock up.
On the other hand, liberals who feverishly support such controls, thus essentially giving government something of a monopoly on the use of force, cringe when they read stories like the one out of California. There, according to the Los Angeles Times, “a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy inadvertently shot and killed the resident of a Pico Rivera home during a gunfight with a wanted parolee Friday.”
Fifty-four-year-old Frank Mendoza will never see another birthday because he was “mistaken” for the guy lawmen were really after. He is just as dead as if he had been killed by a legally-armed citizen, or for that matter, a criminal, but one might anticipate a different outcome in any investigation of such a tragic shooting than may come out of the real-life-and-death mess in Pico Rivera.
Newspapers aren’t likely to launch a shrill cry to disarm the police, as they might with a “we-told-you-so” attitude about laws, or court rulings, that are forcing government to honor the right to bear arms.
The California report also says something about restrictive gun laws without saying it at all. The bad guy was a “wanted parolee” who was armed, and allegedly fired at police several times. Identified as Cedric Ramirez, he had a gun despite California’s very tough gun control laws, which include a “universal background check” provision, and a prohibition on felons with firearms.
Laws against felons having guns have been failing since they were first passed. The other day, the Seattle P-I.com reported about Jerrod Marks II, a convicted 19-year-old felon who was arrested for “test firing” a stolen Glock pistol outside a “gangster rap concert” at a bar on Seattle’s Beacon Hill. The only people truly discouraged from having guns by tough gun laws are law-abiding citizens who have no intention of doing something wrong.
I-594 would make Washington like California. No Seattle liberal worth his weight in legalized pot is going to roll over and play dead if rhetoric were to suddenly become reality and only cops — and criminals, of course — had guns. The overwhelming majority of police and sheriff’s deputies support the rights of armed citizens, another bit of irony for the gun prohibitionists.
The gun control crowd may be its own worst enemy. The anti-gun lobby’s campaign to reduce gun ownership has only expanded it. Its proposals to keep guns out of criminal hands haven’t disarmed criminals at all. Laws it defends have been struck down by courts as unconstitutional. Just how much more wrong can you get?