Politicians love “solutions” that don’t work, I don’t.
Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933. It was repealed because it didn’t work. It attacked the supply but did nothing to address the demand. Those that wanted to drink alcohol did.
“The War on Drugs” has been ongoing for 50+ years. We see in the news daily how well it’s working. It too attacks the supply but does very little to address the demand.
The federal ban on “assault weapons” lasted 10 years. It didn’t work.
In 1934 came the National Firearms Act, and in 1968 it was the Gun Control Act. There have been several other laws passed at the federal and state level since. The simple fact is, they haven’t worked. Crime and violence continue to escalate even though it is harder to buy a firearm now than it ever has been.
The state of Washington has universal background check laws and has enacted a series of laws regarding semi-automatic rifles and magazine capacity. The state has broken its all-time homicide record each year for the last two years.
What all of these examples have in common is this: They didn’t work because they didn’t address the cause of the problem. They also caused a good deal of collateral damage.
The National Firearms Act was passed in response (in part) to the St. Valentines Day Massacre of 1929. The massacre was a battle in a gang war – and a significant part of the business in which those gangs engaged was bootlegging – which was a result of Prohibition. This is why conservatives don’t trust the government to solve many problems – government frequently makes the situation much worse.
Left and right can agree that we have a drug problem. Left and right can agree we have a violence problem. We disagree on what to do about them.
Government typically misses the mark on the root cause because it takes a simplistic approach. I think there are a few reasons for this and among them are the need for a simplistic political slogan and a “solution” that government can realistically implement. Politicians don’t seem too concerned that the “solution” may have no impact and that it may cause considerable collateral damage. They can go back to their voters and say “I did something about it” whether they did or not.
The cause of the drug problem is the demand – the addict. But addicts are thinly spread over wide areas and are difficult to address. Drug dealers are fewer and easier for government to identify – a single dealer can serve hundreds of users. This makes the dealer an easier target for the government.
Likewise, a single firearms dealer serves hundreds or thousands of customers. Never mind that those customers are not the problem. This makes the firearms dealer the natural target of the government.
Politicians and media distract from the problem. We don’t have a “gun violence” problem. Continuing to attach the word “gun” continues to distract from the real problem and reinforces the mistaken idea that the “gun” is relevant to the root cause.
It isn’t a “gun problem” or a “race problem” it’s a crime problem. The majority of these homicides are related to some other criminal activity (gangs, car theft rings, drug dealers), and the root cause in every case is the criminal.
Firearms laws (to date) impact the law-abiding citizen that walks into a licensed firearms dealer. They don’t impact the criminal and therefore do not address the root cause. Such laws have never and will never work, particularly if they are not enforced.
But apparently, the voters and the media are perfectly happy with cheap slogans and expensive “solutions” that don’t solve the problem.
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