President Biden has returned to an old standby for liberal crime fighters — more gun control.
This month, the president used the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings to push gun-control legislation that included expanded background checks and $5 billion for community “anti-violence programs.” He assured us that all were “commonsense” measures.
Funny how new gun control proposals are always commonsensical. Whatever background checks we have, they always need to be expanded. Giving money to community programs (read: social spending) is one of the left’s favorite anti-crime measures.
Crime has reached epidemic proportions, and not just crimes committed with guns. Property theft is up. (A new expression has been added to the vocabulary — “snatch and grab.”) The elderly are assaulted on city streets. Women are raped on train cars. The murder of police officers has become routine.
In 2021, 12 major cities, all with Democratic mayors, had record-breaking homicides.
As of Dec. 17, there were 535 murders in Philadelphia, exceeding the previous record of 500 in 1990. Portland, St. Paul and Chicago were among the other winners of the homicide sweepstakes.
To all of this, the Democrats have a set of standard responses — deny, deflect and play dumb.
Earlier this month, Larry Krasner (“Let ‘em Loose Larry”), Philly’s radical district attorney, said there wasn’t an overall crisis of crime in the City of Brotherly Love. (“Basically, we don’t have a crisis of lawlessness. We don’t have a crisis of crime. We don’t have a crisis of violence.”) Mr. Krasner later tried to walk it back, to still the uproarious laughter.
At a Dec. 2 press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the epidemic of organized looting that’s hit liberal cities was due to COVID-19. Chicago Mayor Lorie Lightfoot blamed retailers for not having enough security. Wasn’t this what progressives used to call “blaming the victim”?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confessed, “The fact is there is an attitude of lawlessness in our country that springs from I don’t know where.”
Her feigned ignorance is understandable.
The crime wave washing over our cities is due to policies and causes championed by her party and her “just perfect” president — including defunding and demonizing the police, ending cash bail, reducing felonies to misdemeanors, loosening borders and allowing the mob free-rein during last year’s riots.
As business districts went up in flames, police were attacked and stores were looted, Democratic officeholders either ignored the mob or cheered it on. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey helpfully observed: “Yes, America is burning, but that’s how forests grow.” Chaos in the streets is also how totalitarian movements grow, like the Bolsheviks in 1917 and the Nazis in 1933.
As a candidate, Mr. Biden avoided commenting on the orgy of violence until polls showed him losing on the issue. Even then, he repudiated it only in the most general terms, never mentioning BLM or antifa.
The president’s open-borders debacle — stopping construction of the wall, ending remain-in-Mexico (recently reinstated by the courts), and bringing back catch and release — also contributed to the crime wave.
In the past fiscal year, the number of border encounters quadrupled over 2020. We’re not just importing poverty and disease, but gang members, drugs and human trafficking.
But the president says we can end the crime explosion with expanded background checks and midnight basketball.
Background checks are useless. The Sandy Hook shooter used his mother’s legally registered gun. The San Bernardino terrorists used a straw-man purchase to get their weapons. The 15-year-old arrested for the school shooting in Oxford, Michigan, used his parents’ legal handgun. According to the Department of Justice, 1.4 million guns are stolen in this country each year. Perhaps we could do background checks on the thieves.
Gun control is voodoo crime control. It won’t keep guns out of the hands of determined criminals or psychopaths.
We are a nation of gun owners and have been from the beginning. The American Revolution started when the British tried to impose commonsense gun control at Lexington and Concord.
In a September Pew Research Poll, 4 in 10 Americans said they live in a household with a gun, including 30% who said they personally own one. The percentage used in a crime each year is infinitesimal (.004%).
Thank God for guns. Widespread gun ownership is one reason we’ve never had a Stalin, a Hitler or a Castro.
Ironically, Mr. Biden seeks to impose more gun control at a time when his policies give Americans more of a reason to own guns than ever before.
• Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer and syndicated columnist.
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