How many times have we heard Obama use the phrase “commonsense” in relation to gun control? The Left is great at citing statistics and using science to back up their arguments, but seem generally ignorant when it comes to gun control and crime statistics. And what do those statistics show us?
From 1994 to 2013, violent crime overall has decreased 37% according to FBI statistics. The number of homicides has decreased 39% in that same time period and the number of firearm-related deaths has decreased almost 42%. By any metric, where is the supposed gun crime epidemic the administration talks about? We can all agree that the approximate 11,000 annual homicides at the hands of guns is 11,000 too many, but we can make an argument that the annual number of 30,000 traffic fatalities is 30,000 too many. Is there also an epidemic of traffic deaths? Does Obama go on television every time there is an accident resulting in multiple deaths in a car accident?
Instead, Obama and company are referring to the so-called epidemic of mass shootings. The first problem is the definition: how many victims are required to elevate the “event” to a mass shooting? Would some gang-bangers in Chicago or New Orleans at a party that got out of hand qualify as a mass shooting? Where is the outcry about the daily shootings in major cities like Washington DC, Chicago and Philadelphia?
The administration is leading a brainwashing campaign of the public to convince us that there is this epidemic. A 2013 Pew Research poll showed that 56% of Americans believe that gun-related homicides have increased in the past 20 years despite the actual reality cited above. Just this year, a Gallup poll indicated that 70% of Americans believe that violent crime is on the rise. The reason is simple: the sensationalized media coverage which captures the Nation’s attention.
We also hear amorphous terms like “gun violence.” They tell us that 33,000 Americans are the victims of gun violence every year. They don’t tell you that more than 20,000 of those victims are suicides or suicide attempts. Yet, we do not hear anything about an “epidemic” of gun-related suicides.
To the Left, the solution is simple: ban guns or, failing that, ban certain types of guns. The rhetoric on the Left is designed to incite an atmosphere of “doing something,” even though that “something” would likely do nothing to address the problem. In fact, there is no such gun show loophole they hope to close. Most homicide deaths are the result of handguns and over 70% of Americans oppose any kind of ban on handguns. If you want commonsense gun control, how about a judicial process that addresses those with a propensity towards violence, those accused of domestic abuse and those with an active restraining order?
As for Obama’s proposals, they sound good, but it ends there at the soundbite. They do very little to address the core problem. They are a reiteration of existing laws. And as silly as they are, the proposals of Hillary Clinton are more frightening. Her proposal is to make gun manufacturers liable in civil court for gun deaths. That is like making a car manufacturer liable for an auto death. In fact, gun manufacturers are liable (like car manufacturers) if they knowingly break the law or sell a defective product. Clinton’s proposal goes much further. Her’s is a stealth form of gun control where she would bankrupt firearms manufacturers and dealers into capitulation. Of course, there is the problem of over 300 million firearms in the country many in the hands of criminals. However, the law-abiding would be shut out of the inalienable right of self defense.
Every so-called “commonsense reform” offered up by the Left is simply a reflection of their authoritarian approach to problems. In their mind, as Cato associate David Kopel notes, “…gun ownership is a sporting privilege of the few and not a right of the people.” It is illustrated in the invective used by Senator Chris Murphy who, in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist act, directed his anger at the Republican Party for thwarting efforts at gun control. Suppose the Left’s actions were to go into effect tomorrow. His proposals and actions are empty words drawn on a canvas of ignorance and false fears.
Obama has often been compared to an imperial entity and nowhere is this more obvious that with gun control. As Kopel notes:
“What is ultimately at stake is the same question that precipitated the American Revolution: whether the American people are the sovereigns in their own country or whether they should be ruled from above, for their own good, according to the supposedly benevolent commands of the elitist rulers of a top-down, European-style society.”
If that is not an accurate description of Obama’s mindset, I don’t know what is. It is a world where commonsense becomes a synonym for “no sense.”