Thomas Gabor, a Canadian pontificating on US policy, thinks we can solve all our firearms crime problems by registering, taxing, folding, stamping, spindling, and mutilating gun honest gun owners. Sort of.
Point of View: U.S. needs a more comprehensive licensing system to curtail mass shootings
A central theme of gun rights advocates is that gun laws are futile as “bad guys” will simply get around any background check system by buying their guns on the illicit market. However, in many recent mass shootings — Thousand Oaks, Pittsburgh, Parkland, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs (Texas), Orlando, Charleston — the shooters obtained their weapons legally from licensed firearms dealers after passing the FBI’s background check system (NICS). They either had no criminal records or had run-ins with the law that were not recorded in the FBI’s databases.
This “criminologist” proceeds to explain that comprehensive, universal, and astonishingly arbitrary firearm owner licensing will solve everything “mass shootings”.
Note the immediate bait and switch: When rights advocates suggest criminals will just break more laws, Gabor suddenly points and exclaims, “Look! Over there! Mass shooting!” And pretends the issue was never more general.
By suddenly shifting the discussion to “recent mass shootings,” he deflects attention from the simple facts that 63% of murderers using firearms had prior felony convictions, and that over 93% of firearms used in crimes are obtained through unlawful channels bypassing background checks. By focusing on a few high profile crimes (and ignoring shootings such as Sante Fe where the firearms were obtained illegally; and mischaracterizing the Sutherland Springs and Charleston shooters who did not obtain their weapons legally), he rationalizes licensing that cannot and will not deter the overwhelming majority of gun-armed criminals already ignoring laws.
His proposed licensing system is quite general though. Besides universal background checks preemptively-prove-your-innocence prior restraint on all sales, he wants:
I recommend a comprehensive licensing system that would identify signs of troubling behavior beyond criminal records. Law enforcement would interview license applicants, consult references, and examine criminal, military, and mental health records. Spouses or ex-spouses would be notified of the application and could inform authorities of disturbing behavior.
Applicants would receive police training and testing in the proper use of force, safe handling of firearms and marksmanship. A 15-day waiting period would preclude gun purchases by those in the midst of a crisis. The license would apply for five years and a fee would support the licensing process.
We already know none of that will deter the vast majority of killers, but maybe it will work on those inclined to commit massacres.
- Moscow theater hostage crisis (2002): 170 dead
- Beslan school siege (2004): 334 dead
- Crimea School Massacre (2018): 20 dead, 50 wounded.
For the record, Russia has far more draconian licensing laws than even Gabor is advocating. They don’t seem to have worked very well. I suppose Russia doesn’t count since gun controllers always leave it out of the comparisons between developed nations.
Norway seems pretty developed, and has licensing similar to Gabor’s concept.
- 2011 Norway Attacks: 77 dead
In fact, Norway ranks higher than the US for mass shootings.
Hmm… Maybe we should check Gabor’s own Canada.
Gabor’s proposal fails cost (loss of constitutional guaranteed rights):benefit (fewer firearms fatalities) analysis.
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