To: President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
Stop Calls for Gun Control After Mass Shootings
Stop the calls for more gun control after every mass shooting. Using these tragedies to promote your agenda is disingenuous at best. You are well aware that anything you propose will have no effect on the occurrence of these events.
Why is this important?
Here are a few quick facts from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics before we begin:
1. In crimes where the offender possessed a gun during the commission of the crime, 83% did not use or threaten to use the gun.
2. Fewer than 1% of firearms will ever be used in the commission of a crime.
3. 74% of felons agreed that, “one reason burglars avoid houses when people are at home is that they fear being shot during the crime.”
4. 57% of felons polled agreed, “criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.”
Regarding interstate transfer of firearms to defeat local gun control laws:
1. The BATF reports that the average age of a traced crime gun is 11 years, meaning that most guns moving from state to state were transported when legal owners moved.
2. Fewer than 5% of traced crime guns in California came from neighboring Nevada and Arizona.
Now that we have that out of the way, black swan events are almost impossible to predict. Outside of someone making an open and credible threat of violence, you probably aren't going to prevent them regardless of the laws you pass. Getting rid of guns all together will not happen in United States. If you want that solution, you're going to be perpetually disappointed. So now lets talk about what can be done, and would actually work.
First lets look at the firearms that are actually used to commit crimes so we can get away from the "assault weapon" nonsense. Handguns are used in 81% of crimes over rifles 10% and shotguns 9%. That 10% for rifles includes all rifles, not just AR-15 or AK-47 pattern rifles. Why is that? Because they're easier to carry and conceal. Anyone who proposes an "assault weapons" ban either doesn't understand that they are almost never used in crimes, or they're being disingenuous with their intentions. The reason I put assault weapons in quotations is because, by definition, an assault weapon has to have select fire capability. Meaning the safety selector has to include safe, semi-automatic, and either full-automatic or burst positions.
AR-15 and AK-47 pattern rifles are not assault weapons, and are almost never used in a crimes according to FBI statistics. Also, I can't find where a legally owned actual assault weapon hasn't been used in a crime since the 1930's. Again, we have to ask why? Fully-automatic weapons are ineffective weapons for committing crimes, or even mass shootings. They put a whole lot of rounds on one or two targets, and then you're out of ammo. They are also expensive, and people that can afford them buy them for collecting purposes. Besides, it's incredibly easy to illegally build a fully automatic rifle from scratch with parts available on the internet if you wanted to use one in a crime. All you need is some equipment and basic gun smithing knowledge. But criminals don't do this because they are ineffective for their purposes.
Now lets look at how criminals actually acquire the firearms they use in crimes. 40% of all crime guns are either stolen, or purchased from an illegal (blackmarket) source. Another 40% have friends or family members make the purchase for them in order to bypass the background check. That is what is known as a straw purchase, and it's a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 9% are legally purchased from a retail store because the person had never done anything that would have prohibited them from owning a firearm prior to the crime they committed with said firearm. 5% are purchased in private party transactions and may or may not be legal depending on the eligibility of the buyer to own a firearm. 4% are purchased from pawn shops and these may, or may not include a background check depending on the age of the firearm, or if the shop has a Federal Firearms License (FFL). 1% are purchased at flea markets. And 1% are purchased at gun shows. Note that any one who holds an FFL must always perform a background check regardless of where the sale takes place. The only exceptions are for buyers, such as myself, who get a thorough background check through all state and federal agencies every 5 years (in the form of a concealed carry permit). So hopefully you are starting to see that 80% of crime guns are not purchased legally, and therefore stronger gun control laws would have little to no effect on violent crime rates. Also, the 10% of crime guns that are purchased legally, are purchased by someone who was legally allowed to own firearm due to not having a criminal record or previous mental health issues. I would also like to point out that 90% of violent crime doesn't involve a firearm of any type.
What can we do about it? First we need to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Too often prosecutors cut deals with offenders for a quick conviction by dropping the gun charges. This repeatedly puts violent offenders back out on the street to commit more crimes. Most firearms related offenses carry a sentence of ten years. We need to enforce that. If you make a straw purchase for someone, then you need to go away for 10 years. If you get caught with a stolen firearm, and you can't prove where you got it from, then you go away for ten years. If you get caught with a firearm with a defaced serial number, because you bought it on the black market, guess what, ten years. If you're a prohibited person and you get caught with any firearm, you go away for ten years. If you commit a forcible felony with a firearm then you go away for a minimum of 20 years. No more deals, no more compromise. This wouldn't solve the problem overnight but it would significantly reduce our violent crime rate and get violent people off the street. These are laws and sentences that are already on the books and the constantly get plead down so prosecutors can get a quick "win".
In the next few paragraphs I'm going to address murder specifically. I'm going to refer to the total murder rate and not just gun murders. After all, if you're dead, you'r...