- - Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I’m still waiting for someone to show me how laws stop a person intent on breaking them.

I see people breaking speed limits every day, despite the fact that speed cameras are there to catch them doing it. The ticket comes later in the mail.

In one of his last-gasp efforts to “fundamentally change” America, President Obama is taking executive action on gun control — because he knows he could never get Congress to agree — to keep guns out of the hands of people he claims should not have them.

Stiffer background checks are supposed to achieve his goal of reducing “gun violence,” despite the fact that, according to The Washington Times, “A record number of firearms background checks were conducted by the FBI in 2015 — equating roughly to 44 checks every minute.” A record-setting year. Yet people intent on breaking the law remain undeterred. The San Bernardino shooters who murdered 14 people at a holiday event did not have criminal backgrounds — until they opened fire. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., was committed by a disturbed man whose mother had legally obtained the guns.

Bloomberg reports that, “A study by the Department of Justice found that just 0.7 percent of state prison inmates in 1997 had purchased their weapons at a gun show.” “By contrast,” notes the study, “nearly 40 percent of inmates said they obtained the firearm used in their crime from family or friends, and 39 percent said they got the weapon from an illegal street source.”

How would more gun laws fix this problem?

As with “climate change,” “gun control” is not high on most peoples’ list of concerns. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that “only 1 percent of respondents mentioned guns/gun control as a concern for most of the months in 2015.” While mentions spiked to 7 percent in November and December after mass shootings in those months, “the overall average for the year was 2 percent.”

In response to the president’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said, “The president has overseen a dramatic drop in prosecutions related to the enforcement of gun laws already on the books, and his party recently voted once again to defeat a Senate measure to increase those prosecutions.” He might have added the notion that “gun-free zones” would somehow contribute to public safety. They likely wouldn’t. Isn’t it at least conceivable that someone bent on mass murder would take advantage of gun-free zones, knowing that there would be no one in them who could offer much resistance?

Mr. Obama’s gun control push is all about politics, of course. He’s attempting to shore up the Democratic liberal base before the next election and forestall the real possibility that his executive orders will be quickly reversed should a Republican win the White House.

It is also another display of what is at the heart of liberalism — the fallacy that intent trumps results. Liberals are rarely held accountable for their failed policies, but are instead praised for having lofty goals and the right attitude.

As the saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The left has transformed that road into a multilane highway. And it’s the rest of us who have to pay the toll.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist. His latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” (Zondervan, 2014).

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