Google Yourself Some Gun Control?

By Dave Workman

Millions of people use Google, the big Internet search engine, every day for all kinds of reasons.

I’ve used Google for everything from looking up car parts to finding images of Elmer Keith’s .41 and .44 Magnum revolvers. So, when it was announced that is providing a $2 million grant to a program called the PICO Live Free Campaign to prevent “gun violence,” it got my attention. The money will reportedly flow to ten cities: Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Gary, Indianapolis, New York, Miami Gardens, Milwaukee, Oakland and Orlando.

There’s nothing wrong with efforts to reduce criminal violence involving firearms. Remember, it was the firearms community that championed two approaches to violent crime that grabbed the public’s attention back in the 1990s: “Three Strikes and You’re Out” and “Hard Time for Armed Crime.” Those strategies focused on bad guys and left good guys alone.

Instead of embracing these strategies, gun prohibition lobbying groups wanted the focus to be on so-called “gun violence” instead of locking up violent criminals. The tool, not the fool, became the target. This led to such undertakings as “gun buyback” programs of questionable value. More about that in a moment.

The PICO Live Free campaign is described as “a national movement of faith-based organizations and congregations committed to addressing the causes of pervasive violence and crime in communities.” The grant was announced at the same time that the “Peacemaker Partnership” was launched, according to a press release from the Community Justice Reform Coalition (CJRC).

This “Partnership” includes the “Who’s Who” of gun control lobbying organizations: the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, Guns Down, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and States United to Prevent Gun Violence. Noticeably absent are any gun rights organizations.

The CJRC press release noted that this grant is “part of new national gun violence prevention campaign (that) aims to accelerate evidence-based prevention in communities heavily impacted by gun violence.”

There’s that term again: “gun violence.” We keep asking if this is somehow different from “knife violence” or “crowbar violence” or even “hands, fists and feet” violence, but nobody answers. A quick look at the FBI Uniform Crime Report data in any given year shows that more people are bludgeoned, beaten or stabbed to death than are killed annually with so-called “assault rifles” or shotguns, so it seems a bit odd for anti-violence advocates, not to mention the national media, to single out “gun violence” as a particular problem.

Google can hand out its money to anybody it chooses. There are some worthy programs that could certainly use it. For example, the National Rifle Association is a leader in firearms safety training. The Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms co-sponsor an annual event called the Gun Rights Policy Conference that deals with legal and legislative issues. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has “Project Child Safe” that promotes gun safety and education.

Gun “buybacks” have two problems: The sponsors never owned the guns in the first place,
and more importantly, research says they don’t accomplish anything. (Dave Workman)

‘Gun Buy-Backs’ = False Sense Of Accomplishment

When the Fort Worth, Texas police implemented a “gun buyback program” on July 8, handing out $50 VISA cards to anyone bringing in an unwanted firearm — no questions asked — it might have been a lot of flash and no substance.

At least, that’s what research over the past few years strongly suggests.

Question: How can these events be called “buybacks” when the police or any other agency or organization never owned the firearms in the first place? They’re not buying back property. They are purchasing something over which they have no prior claims.

According to a January 2013 story in USA Today, these events don’t accomplish anything to reduce violent crime. Here’s how that newspaper put it: “Spread across tables or piled high into overflowing stacks, all those weapons reinforce the notion that trading cash for guns works. It gets guns off the street, organizers say, and makes the city safer. The problem, according to years of research, is that it does neither.”

So, why bother? When you accept the fact that gun control is largely “feel good” instead of “do good” it all makes sense.

The USA Today story focused on a gun “buyback” staged (and we picked this word deliberately) in Cincinnati — one of the ten cities getting some of that Google money — where that city’s violence is obviously continuing.

As USA Today explained it, “The biggest weakness of buybacks, which offer cash or gift cards for guns, is that the firearms they usually collect are insignificant when measured against the arsenal now in the hands of American citizens.

“The government estimates there are more than 310 million guns in America today,” the newspaper noted, “nearly enough to arm every man, woman and child in the country.”

The story quoted Michael Scott, director of the Center for Problem Oriented Policing at the University of Wisconsin law school: “They make for good photo images. But gun buyback programs recover such a small percentage of guns that it’s not likely to make much impact.”

Even The Trace, a gun control-oriented news organ supported by anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, admitted, “There’s no evidence that gun buybacks actually curb gun violence. Though the events have become ubiquitous in the U.S. since the ’90s, they’re coupled with a number of academic studies that pointedly demonstrate the ways that buybacks fail to reduce crime.”

When Seattle mounted a gun buyback in 2013, Ralph Fascatelli, head of Washington CeaseFire, advised then-Mayor Mike McGinn that it was the wrong approach. Indeed, the Seattle effort turned into a circus as gun rights activists lined up along the street with cash in hand to actually purchase firearms rather than let them be turned in for gift cards, and subsequently be destroyed.

Fascitelli told The Trace, “[Studies show that] the guns you get back are nonfunctioning, that we’re paying money and we’re not getting real benefits. They’re just feel-good things that don’t do much real good.”

When Wrong-Way Driving Is The Least Of Your Problems

A 31-year-old man reportedly from Anthon, Iowa may have plenty of time to re-think his driving skills after getting stopped by Sioux City police for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

This charge appears to be the least of Branden Mullicane’s problems, who was popped very early on the morning of July 4. When he was pulled over, cops found the following, according to the Sioux City Journal: An unmarked pill bottle containing what allegedly was methamphetamine and a handgun wrapped in a stocking cap that “was considered stolen out of Woodbury County.”

What they did not find was any identification. What they found out was that the man in custody was a convicted felon. Turns out he is also the fellow who was arrested in early June and charged with first- and second-degree theft, felony possession of firearms and criminal mischief, the newspaper detailed.

At that time, when sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at this guy’s home, the story said, they reportedly found seven of nine guns that had apparently been stolen from an Anthon gun shop in late May, along with other items stolen from a machine shop that was burglarized about the same time.

Here’s some food for thought. When the suspect was booked into the Woodbury County Jail in June, his bond was $15,300. But on the more recent beef, bond was set at $7,500. If there’s a third arrest, maybe he gets out for free?

And keep this in mind, also. Like all suspects, this one must be considered innocent until the state proves otherwise in a court of law.

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