Commentary: Common sense is in the eye of the beholder

This is in response to Dan Cannon’s opinion piece of Tuesday, Aug. 13. (“Gun violence demands immediate action”) I totally agree the mass murders committed in El Paso and Dayton were horrific. What I don’t agree with is the “common sense” solutions that Mr. Cannon proposes.

What is very rarely reported is the carnage and violence that is taking place every day in places like Chicago and Baltimore. So far this year there have been over 309 homicides in Chicago and over 171 homicides in Baltimore. These two cities happen to be in states that have some of the strictest gun laws in the United States.

The question that should be asked is if these cities have strict gun control laws, why is there so much violent crime committed with firearms? Answer, because the laws that Mr. Cannon is advocating for don’t work. Those types of laws do nothing to reduce violent crime. Illinois and Maryland have had some of the strictest gun laws in the country for years. California has been implementing stricter and stricter gun laws for the last 10 years. Looking at the violent crime rate in California it is clear that more gun laws is not the answer.

The firearms industry is the most heavily regulated of any in the United States. There are over 25,000 federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations governing the manufacturing, sale and possession of firearms. With all this oversight, why do we need more laws? Perhaps we need to enforce those we have.

The guiding principle in this discussion is that attempting to regulate or control the object is not a means in reducing violent crime. One must look behind the object to the person committing the violent act with whatever weapon is used.

People that advocate for more gun control often point to the time when the 2nd Amendment was written. They say the founding fathers could never imagine the types of firearms that exist today. Therefore, they must be banned. Does that go for automobiles, cell phones and violent video games? I, for one, would not imply that our founding fathers were not looking to the future and the wonders that were yet to come when they wrote our Bill of Rights. The inconvenient truth is that unlike almost every other country in the world, the United States has a Constitution with enumerated individual rights that the government is not permitted to infringe upon.

If the 2nd amendment should fail, then every other amendment in the Bill of Rights is in danger of failing.

I would submit that the reason we are seeing the types of tragedies that occurred most recently is due to the breakdown of the basic social fabric most of us seniors grew up with. The family unit is breaking down. The percentage of single-parent homes is at an all-time high. Respect for others, especially law enforcement is declining. Examples are the police officers in New York that are having water, and who knows what else, thrown on them. Look at what happened in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Police officers attempting to protect the public were heckled and had items thrown at them by the very people they were trying to protect.

I could go on and on, however, I would like to respond to Mr. Cannon’s “common sense” statements. First, background checks for all purchases. Delaware has had “universal background checks” since 2013.

Second, a reasonable amount of time to complete the check. Mr. Cannon is incorrect in stating it is a one-day time limit. Most NIC’s checks are completed in about 15 minutes. The reason is the person purchasing the firearm has no disqualifiers. If there is a delay, the FBI will try to respond within three business days. If they do not, the dealer may, I repeat may, complete the transfer. Many do not. Delaware requires a wait of up to 25 days if there is a delay.

Third, Delaware has a model red-flag law that was implemented last year. Many of the states that are looking to implement these types of laws should look to Delaware for an example that not only helps keep firearms out of the hands of people that are having problems but protects the due process rights of individuals.

Fourth, the matter of “high-velocity/military-grade ammunition”. There is nothing special about “military-grade ammunition”. Most of the ammunition used for hunting or competition is high velocity and has been for over 150 years. A .22 caliber round is as lethal, if not more so, than a .30 caliber round. An example is what happened to President Reagan. As for “high-capacity magazines/clips. There is no empirical evidence that the number of rounds in a magazine has any impact on crime. That is a red herring thrown about by liberals that rely on hyperbole and emotion rather than facts.

Fifth, “devices that increase/augment the rate of fire”. Legislation was passed in 2018 here in Delaware that prohibits that type of device as well as bump stocks.

So, as we can see, the “common sense” ideas that Mr. Cannon suggests are for the most part already in law here is Delaware. His statements are also geared toward attempting to control the object. Now ask yourself, has the rate of violent crime here in the First state decreased as a result? I don’t think so. Criminals still get guns but do so illegally. Criminals do not stand in line at a firearm dealer and attempt to purchase a firearm. They obtain them illegally. The only people that are impacted, and mostly inconvenienced, are people that are law abiding already.

As I stated previously, the object that is used to commit a violent crime is not at fault. It is the person behind the object that needs to be held accountable.

The attorney general of Delaware has been on a crusade to reduce the number of people in prison. She is proposing, and sometimes getting passed, legislation that results in more plea bargains, more people released on bail, shorter prison terms, early release and so on. I know for a fact that if someone is in prison, they cannot commit a violent crime on the streets.

Until the mental health problem, the drug problem, the social failure of families, the violent video games that reward the player with bonus points for committing horrific acts of violence, are addressed, violent crime will not go down.

For all those that cry out for more gun control measures. You first must admit that everything you have tried in the past has failed.

Jeff Hague, of Ellendale, is president of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association.

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