JLF Triangle Blog

Three wrong-headed Triangle mayors speak about guns

Picture 3On Jan. 11, Durham Mayor Bill Bell made a lot of sense when he called for higher bails for those committing gun crimes. I was pleased because this showed that the mayor understood that the problem was not the gun but the criminal.

But just four days later all that was out the window. Suddenly, the gun itself was the evil thing that was the problem, not the irresponsible bad guy using it:

The mayors of Chapel Hill, Durham and Morrisville called Monday for Congress to enact “common-sense” gun-law reforms.

They were among more than 800 U.S. mayors who issued a coordinated statement on behalf of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns lobbying organization.

Among the changes that Bell, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, and Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe urged Congress to pass laws:

• Requiring criminal background checks for all gun buyers

• Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

• Making gun trafficking a federal crime

Several points. First off, making sure crazy people and criminals can’t get firearms is something even avid gun owners support. Second, gun owners also support the criminalization of gun-trafficking, especially by Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder.

But, third, banning “military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” is a canard. “Military-style” weapons, to gun-grabbers like these three mayors, include any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun that is painted flat black, which has an adjustable stock, and a flash suppressor. All of these are cosmetic features. Nearly every gun manufactured these days is semi-automatic, meaning each time you pull the trigger, one shot is discharged. In function, your average deer rifle is no different. And a flat-black home defense shotgun is no different in function than a Browning skeet gun.

But most disingenuous of all is the idea that banning such “military-style assault weapons” will solve the problems these mayors face in their cities. The story points out, grimly, that Durham had 22 homicides last year, 20 of those involving guns. I’d ask Bell and these three mayors: How many of those 20 homicides involved so-called “military-style assault weapons”? My guess is none.

No, it isn’t AR-15s, the latest “military-style assault weapon” boogeyman of the left, that causes most gun deaths in Durham, or any other city in the country. It’s the handgun. Why no mention of the 9mm, choice of thugs everywhere, at this press conference?

Mayors, it’s not “assault rifles” that are the problem. It’s not pistols that are the problem. The problem is criminals and crazy people who misuse them. Bell seemed to understand this a few days ago. Wonder what happened.

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