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Gun interdiction program has limits

Published: Mon, August 2, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.


The Vindicator

It was good to read about the “Gun Reduction & Interdiction” (GRIP) program recently announced by a coalition of Mahoning Valley law enforcement agencies and discussed in a July 25 Vindicator editorial. This project will do good, but we need to be aware of its limitations. Confiscating guns that could be used in criminal acts may save some lives, but the benefit will be temporary unless the other factors driving street crime are also addressed. GRIP has value, but its benefits will endure only until the drug dealers can buy or steal more weapons. Some bad guys will be taken off the streets, but they will soon be replaced by the next generation of trouble-prone teens.

Let’s look at some of the other factors involved in our area’s problems, saving the most thorny one for last. First, the ongoing needs for strong funding and community support of law enforcement, court and corrections systems are obvious. Civil order and justice don’t just happen — the community must support them while requiring that they be robust and of high quality.

Next, consider our many unemployed and unemployable teens and young adults who lack the skills and credentials needed to succeed in today’s world. For many of them, drug dealing offers money, something to do, occasional adventure, and temporary chemical bliss. There are also the status and feeling of power that come from owning and carrying death-dealing weapons. Building more prisons can’t solve this problem by itself — we also need better-funded family service agencies, character-building activities for kids, block watch and other neighborhood groups, and top quality schools.

We also need to build stronger families. Every new baby should be a loved and wanted child who is welcomed into a stable and healthy home. This topic is too complex to receive the space it deserves here, so we’ll move on.

Gun law politics

The factor that this observer deems most in need of long-term attention is the sorry state of gun law politics in America. A half century ago the leaders of the National Rifle Association began a long-term propaganda campaign that said (paraphrased), “there are sinister people out there who want take away our guns and leave us defenseless against violent criminals and invading armies. The only way to prevent that is by NRA-led political action that will block any form of gun control law.” This devious campaign has succeeded. It’s always easy to frighten people and arouse them to march to a persuasive leader’s drum, and that’s what the NRA has done. Never mind that a gun kept in a home is much more likely to kill a resident of that home (intentionally, accidentally, or as a suicide) than an intruder. And we’re still waiting to be invaded by a horde of heavily armed liberals (ugh!) intent upon violating our wives and daughters.

A recent decision by the activist right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court essentially rewrites the Second Amendment of our Constitution, which reads, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” That’s all there is — it deals with militias, not all the other things for which firearms can be used. That amendment was adopted in the year 1791, at a time when all guns were single-shot muzzle-loaders that had to be reloaded with a ramrod, gunpowder and a bullet after every shot. Glock pistols and AK-47 assault rifles didn’t exist. These words, addressing the long-irrelevant subject of citizen militias, have nothing at all to say about the weapons used by drug dealers, violent felons and mentally disturbed persons in 21st century America.

Middle ground

There is a potential middle ground where the legitimate concerns of gun hobbyists and public safety officials could be accommodated, but that can’t happen in today’s highly polarized atmosphere. We license motor vehicles and record their serial numbers. We examine and license drivers, and expect them to know relevant laws and safe practices. Gun owners could easily adapt to similar requirements, but the NRA will continue to block such common-sense action and the present mess will persist. Mexican officials will keep complaining about how easy it is for their drug gangs to buy assault weapons in Texas and use them for shoot-outs with the Mexican police. More American children will die in their beds during drive-by shootings, and there will be future incidents like Columbine and Virginia Tech. Sad.

Robert D. Gillette, a retired physician, lives in Poland.


1Silence_Dogood(1663 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

"the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed"

What part of that don't you understand Robert D. Gillette.

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2gjdagis(1 comment)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

"That amendment was adopted in the year 1791, at a time when all guns were single-shot muzzle-loaders that had to be reloaded with a ramrod, gunpowder and a bullet after every shot."

What SIMPLISTIC and sophomoric logic! The people we may be forced to confront (including the military) don't use these guns anymore either. Doesn't the first amendment protect the use of a computer, or does it just protect the use of a quill pen. STUPID as well as the rest of your arguments.

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3Jarhead1982(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Funny how the JAMA Journal of American Medical Association reported in 2001 that the 700k doctors in the US kill 44k-98k people per year by medical malpractice. Since we have not seen any break throughs on patient care over the last 10 years, no reason to change those numbers.

Funny how of the 8 million people licensed to carry concealed, the best the VPC Violence Policy Center report in 2009 can identify without any validation or details is 137 deaths by people with concealed carry permits over a 3 year time frame or just over 45 per year.

Hmm, 44k-98k dead by doctors, 45 dead by those licensed to carry concealed. Who again is the most dangerous, a gun owner or a doctor.

Geez the facts prove it, going to a doctor is a serious public health risk, therefore doctors should be banned right?

After all, when the statistical probability of a doctor vs a person who is licensed to carry concealed is compared, a doctor is 14,000 to 31,000 times more likely to kill you, prove otherwise!

Oh wait, this so called doctor doesn't have any data to support this piece of shiite opine. Yep standard operating practice for a socialistic Nazi activist like this doctor, or shall we refer to him as Doctor Mengella from now on?

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4Woody(482 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Hmm, License and register guns. Didn't Hitler in Germany do that? I believe, yes he did. Then he went and confiscated them.

Second ammendment is a personal right. Hence the reason it is in the Bill of Rights, all of which protect individual freedom. That comma there Robert (Not sure how you became a doctor si I will refrain from calling you on it), breaks from Malitia, giving the rights to the people. Go read some of the quotes by people like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, etc about the rights of gun ownship and what happens to a people when they give up that right.

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5Bookkie(1 comment)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Between 1900 and 1999 over 262 million people were murdered by their own governments. ‘Sensible’ gun control laws such as registration preceded each of the Genocides. The Second Amendment was a warning to our Government that WE the people retain the natural right to keep and bear all arms for the defense of ourselves individual and collectively against tyranny if necessary.

"The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." Samuel Adams, debates & Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86?87.

"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms." Tench Coxe, Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution, under the pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian" in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, June 18, 1789 at col. 1.

There are to many of us who have read the founding documents. You can no longer spread the lies and propaganda without being challenged. The Supreme Court in Heller and McDonald got it right.

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