The Failure of Gun Control

The most recent gun-related tragedy in Aurora, Colorado has led to new calls for gun control laws and measures. The likes of Diane Feinstein, Sally Kohn, and Michael Bloomberg, have all claimed that extending prohibitions on firearms would necessarily curb the violence associated with them. It seems like a simple claim, with a self-evident conclusion: artificially the lower supply of something, and there is a lower supply available, right? It sounds like such a black and white issue. Cut off the supply of something, and the available supply begins to dwindle, and it eventually runs out. Then the product is gone, and so is the problem.

But there is a problem with that logic – firearms are not consumable items. Firearms are not used and thrown away, or expended. They are, like other tools, used over and over. While an artificial control would dry up the expansion of supplies, it still would not eliminate the supplies that the left would claim are causing all the problems. Despite the protestations that the sheer number of guns are the problems, some statistics have been pointing toward falling violent crime rates over the past few years.

The main issue I take with the progressive thought processes on gun control, is their insistence that guns would only be safe in the hands of trained, certified, fully capable professionals. Again, on its face, this seems like a decent notion – practice makes perfect, right? It seems to follow, that hours of safely handling and operating a firearm should make a nearly accident-proof firearm user, right? Then, these ultra-safe, and responsible firearms carrying professionals, would somehow protect the citizens, who would have had their own firearms seized.

The only problem with this thought, is that despite all the training in the world, and acclamation with firearms, police and soldiers still are not completely safe with them. There are miles long lists of firearms accidents and friendly fire mishaps among professionals. There have never been more methods of tracking and making weapons safe, and yet – even amidst these professionals, accidents still occur.

Among the best trained civilian police forces and SWAT teams, there are numerous stories of trigger-happy members killing civilians who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • In Lima, Ohio, in a drug bust turned bad, police shot and killed a new mother, Tarika Wilson, after an officer opened fired on her – her one year old child, who she was holding suffered injuries as well (he was shot in the shoulder, and the baby also lost a finger). It was later discovered that police had even expected the presence of children, but went forward with a raid anyway.
  • In Fairfield, Virginia, a 17-year police force veteran, investigating an illegal sports gambling operation, accidentally discharged his .45 caliber pistol, and killed an optometrist with no prior record. A firearm trainer later offered two reasons Salvatore Culosi Jr. was shot by the officer – “ignorance and carelessness”. He added, the Heckler & Koch gun was “very reliable” and did not have “a hair-trigger”.
  • In one of the most egregious accidents of highly trained professionals’ neglecting safety and training protocols, in Pima County, Arizona, a SWAT team broke into a home, where they proceeded to shoot a Marine who served and survived two tours in Iraq. Pima County SWAT officers killed Jose Guerena while Guerena attempted to defend his family with his AR15, because he thought intruders were kicking his door down (as he lived in a high crime area). The police department has offered numerous stories and revised events several times, in trying to explain how they killed a man who never fired a shot at them, while they hit him over 60 times.

(The Cato Institute has compiled a long list (and map) of bungled SWAT actions by police. The map makes it plain to see that the deaths of both officers and innocent civilians are not limited to any particular geographic region. )

These three examples are by no means an indictment of any police force or SWAT teams either – I have the utmost respect for the people who risk their own lives daily, in an attempt to make the country a safer place. The examples  illustrate the faulty reasoning in progressive logic that by only allowing “professionals” to carry firearms, will not eliminate firearms accidents. All things being equal, we must realize that police and soldiers are human beings too, and are therefore subject to the same accidents and irrationality as anyone else. There are far more examples of law enforcement officers being provoked or attacked by angry mobs, only to hold their fire, arrest the leaders of the violence, and defuse the situation.

Can practice and familiarity make people safer with their firearms? Of course it can. But then, if people are proficient in their use, and respect firearms as they should – then we would not have any reasons to take them away, would we?

(Picture credits: Tarika Wilson –, Salvatore Culosi Jr. –, and Jose Guerena –

Tarika Wilson

Tarika Wilson and her son

Salvatore Culosi

Salvatore Culosi, Jr.

Jose Guerena

Jose Guerena

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