December 2012 will always be remembered as a month of infamy, sadness, and tragedy because of the Sandy Hook massacre that claimed the lives of 20 young children and six adults. But January 2013 will, however, be remembered as the time when government forces ultimately politicized the tragedy into a new talking point to promote more statist control over our lives.
Not only the federal government, but even states and local administrations are now pushing for gun restrictions to prevent another massacre. Indeed, on Monday, while President Obama was holding a press conference on the issue in Washington, New York Mayor Bloomberg was accusing the gun lobby of keeping “the country in the dark about gun violence.” The Mayor of Miami Tomas Regalado also held a press conference, asking for Congress to pass tougher regulations on the Second Amendment.
Regalado is wrong to make such a request. Not just because it has been empirically proven that an increased gun ownership rate coincides with lower crime rates. Not because having an armed population makes it less easy for our leaders to control our lives. Not because it makes absolutely no sense to think that restricting guns will make them disappear from the streets, as if the same technique worked with drugs.
Instead, Regalado made the wrong call for a simple reason. Instead of asking for Congress to pass some pointless restriction sometime in the future, the Miami mayor should be demanding the right of his administration to enforce its own regulations. Both federal and state mandates prohibit counties and city governments from banning firearms (especially in Florida), which goes against the principle of devolution, so essential to good governance.
Time and time again, it has been proven that the most prosperous and harmonious societies come from a mosaic of local governments making up the bulk of legislative policies within a defined country. Such devolution of powers promotes efficiency, better representation, less corruption, and more accountability. Because people tend to vote with their feet, citizens would move to the most prosperous town and other local governments surrounding it would eventually follow the example.
In the 21st century, the question should once again be asked on the local level. If a local administration thinks it wiser to ban guns than to let people carry them, it should be free to do so. In this case, Regalado and the Miami City Commission would have the power to end gun ownership within Metropolitan Miami, without having to wait for a long and dubious congressional decision.
“This area, southeast Florida, needs to wield its political muscle,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. If he truly means it, he and the other mayors of the county should rather fight for more autonomy and for the right to litigate gun issues on their own, without having to depend on federal mandates and Supreme Court rulings.