Recently, President Biden announced his new strategy to combat the rise of gun violence in the United States. This plan seeks to make federal funds available to local law enforcement, school programs, and programs designed to help former prisoners reintegrate into their communities after serving their sentences. The plan also “implements preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime, and attacks the root causes—including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes” and indicates that the government intends to “[s]tem the flow of firearms used to commit violence, including by holding rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws.” This begs the question: If “rogue firearms dealers” are such a nationwide issue as to warrant being mentioned in the administration’s new strategy to reduce gun violence, why weren’t they already being held accountable?
Biden’s Plan Ignores the Numbers
During his speech, President Biden made the statement that “90% of illegal guns found at crime scenes were sold by 5% of gun dealers.” According to a U.S. Department of Justice special report released in 2019, only 8.2% of all state and federal prisoners purchased guns from a licensed firearm dealer at a retail source; 1.2% purchased them from private sellers; and 89.9% did not purchase or trade guns at a retail source at all. Using the U.S. Department of Justice’s own data, we can see that the vast majority of criminals are not getting their guns from dealers. Keep in mind, these are just the numbers of guns that end up in the possession of criminals, not the numbers of guns that are used in actual crimes. If we dig deeper into that same data, it shows us that only 1.3% of the guns used during the commission of a crime were obtained from a retail source. Remember, these are the government’s own numbers. While it is certainly possible that the discrepancy between President Biden’s statement and the Department of Justice’s numbers is simply the result of an honest mistake or lack of clarification on the part of the President, it is also possible that the President purposefully cited numbers from an over 20-year-old study that itself cautioned “traces to a dealer do not necessarily indicate illegal activity by the dealer or its employees,” simply to mislead the American public and bolster support for a plan that is ultimately unlikely to impact a criminal’s ability to obtain an illegal firearm. No matter which reason you choose to believe, such discrepancies undermine the overall credibility of the argument being made.
One of the major points of President Biden’s speech was “accountability.” In this instance, the focus is on holding “rogue firearms dealers” accountable for passing illegal guns that are presumably used by criminals to commit crimes. A United States Government Accountability Office report dated September 2018 found that of the 25.6 million background checks processed through the NICS system in 2017, 181,000 were denied because the individuals attempting the purchases were prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law. As of June 2018, only 12 out of the 181,000 denied by the NICS system were prosecuted by United States Attorney’s Offices. Put another way, just .007% of the people caught attempting to illegally purchase a gun in 2017 faced federal prosecution. The federal government’s failure to prosecute felons who attempted to purchase firearms was not mentioned in the President’s speech or in the comprehensive strategy that was released.
An Attack on Gun Owners?
Given the data that is currently available, it is difficult to see how the measures contained in the President’s strategy will have much, if any, impact on the overall rate of gun violence in this country. The dichotomy between what the data appears to show versus the message being relayed by certain political figures is a driving factor behind the opinion that law-abiding gun owners are unfairly targeted. Some people found the tone and overall message of the speech particularly demeaning to gun owners, including attorney and gun rights activist Colion Noir, who was quoted saying:
It’s a very sad day in our country’s history when you have a president of the United States basically telling the American people that, ‘hey, look, we’re the government, we can do anything that we want to you and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.’ He’s not talking to us like a group of people. He’s talking to us like we’re an invading force. People don’t want these firearms so we can take over the government. We want these firearms so that we can protect ourselves.
This and other factors, such as the President’s nomination of gun control activist David Chipman to head the ATF, make it appear that despite the data, the President views law-abiding gun owners and legal guns as a significant part of the “problem.”
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Correlation does not imply causation! If IGNORANCE IS BLISS, then Biden and his RABID LAPDOG CHIPMAN must be 2 of the happiest people on the planet. I think they should also focus their attention on the violence that stems from
people drinking too much alcohol, not just with the drunks getting violent, getting kicked out of said Bar, returning and shooting the place up, but also drunk driving caused deaths and other kinds of homicides caused by DRUNK VIOLENCE. The next issue should study mass stabbings type KNIFE VIOLENCE, and also the use of improvised implements to cause severe injuries and deaths, such as concrete blocks and bricks being used to assault people with. Then they can take on the issue of CAR VIOLENCE, where just about any vehicle from Cars to Trucks are being used to mow down numbers of protestors, and innocent gatherings of people who just happen to be strolling down the street for a walk. Their kind of thinking on the issues of violence is delusional and 1 dimensional. The root cause, which Biden and Chipman fail to realize, is that it takes a human being to pull the triggers, to grab and stab with the knife in hand, to grab and bash with the brick, stone or concrete block (among other blunt force DEATH and trauma-inflicting items).
I appreciate the relatively unbiased approach you took in the article. I’m a Democrat and like Biden, but feel your points were well made, and were informative.
There is a cultural divide between rural and urban folk that often skews perspective on these issues and information is the key to narrowing the division.
Keep up the good work.
“Gun dealer” is a benign term and, as usual, the gun control activists/lobbyist/left are bastardizing the English language to further their agenda. They are using the word “rogue” (meaning a dishonest or unprincipled entity) to label legally licensed gun dealers in the same class as the criminal gun dealers. Yes, criminals have their own “gun dealers”, which ARE criminals themselves.
@Donna: and not coincidentally, the criminals also have their own Drug Dealers (a.k.a. Cartels, and others like the cheaply made Chinese Fentanyl (https://www.brookings.edu/research/fentanyl-and-geopolitics-controlling-opioid-supply-from-china/ ) (North Korean Meth sales: https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/11/21/inside-north-koreas-crystal-meth-trade/)
We need to find a way to stop illegal gun sales, period!
The use of the terms “gun violence” and “gun crime” is a linguistic ruse widely used in popular media to malign a tool and avoid placing responsibility on criminal actors. Neither mainstream Western nor Eastern philosophy holds inanimate objects to be inherently good or evil. Anything may be used for good or evil purpose but such ends solely depend upon and are the responsibility of the human agent. Murder is as much a “gun crime” as rape is a “penis crime.”
I only have one question who needs an assault weapon such as AK’s rapid firing weapons?
only the military or law enforcement should carry or own such weapons
there’s no need for any civilian to on such weapon you don’t hunt wildlife/game with them so why own such a weapon
I have nothing against owning or carrying a gun/weapon I own guns but not an assault weapon such as an AK or rapid firing weapon I am strongly against any civilian owning or carrying this type of weapon
The answer Kevin is so we can oppose a tyrannical government. In their wisdom our founding fathers knew there would likely come a time when the government of the people, for the people, and by the people would be anything but. Toward that end the people should have the means to fire their elected employees when they begin to think of themselves more as rulers than servants. If you are of the mindset of the current occupant of the Whitehouse and thing people with rifles can’t effectively resist, I’d like to introduce you to the former leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Mihn. Every citizen should be armed and prepared to defend their country against all threats, foreign “and” domestic.
“The answer Kevin is so we can oppose a tyrannical government.”
Well said & true! The government no longer portrays themselves as servants but openly asserts themselves as rulers. Elitists. They want to de-weaponize us so they can fulfill their full commitment to rule(control) us.
“I own guns, but I don’t own assault weapons (misnomer)…”
Why does YOUR choice of weapon make MY choice invalid? You obviously have an entirely different purpose, ability, and comfort level than would serve my needs. Maybe you can see it more clearly this way: I carry a full-size revolver (like a 29 S&W) or a Desert Eagle .44 mag auto ~ therefore YOU cannot choose anything less. The weapon is not the issue (it’s a red herring); the issue is the mindset of the carrier and his intent. So far there is no way to “see the future” of someone’s bad intent.
Project Exile was a successful DOJ program where criminals who abused firearms were prosecuted by the local US Attorney’s Office. It took violent criminals off the street. That program should be revived. It will help end the wave of gun violence. Criminals are the problem not guns.
I agree with Don above. Call it thug violence or criminal violence, but stop falling into the linguistic trap that anti gunners set for us. I expect better from this outfit.
I agree with most of the above. I am a gun owner and fully support the 2nd amendment. I am also a veteran and owe my aligence to this great country…I just wish we all felt that way. Doug
Thanks to the Texas worse political decisions made to promote more gun violence was governor Abbotts allowing anyone to buy and carry a weapon without any training on the use of the weapon or the laws regarding the use of the weapon. They don’t even know they cannot shoot someone who is stealing their lawn mower out of their garage in broad daylight, or taking the wheels and tires off their car. They will be charged and convicted for the use of the weapon to injure or kill the criminal and get serious jail time. The jury and state would always go against the shooter as a human life is much more important and has more value than the items being stolen. Even showing your weapon to threaten or scare anyone could get them arrested. Many will just not know how to control the new power they now have under their control. It also makes anyone who wants to ad firearms to their illegal activity know the weapon is readily and legally available. Just watch the stats on gun violence go up after September 1st.
Constitutional Carry (CC) only applies to the law abiding. Perversely, criminals have always taken liberties to carry and misuse firearms regardless of any and all legal and societal norms. CC levels the playing field by removing an infringement to the innocent law abiding population’s exercise of the right of self defense.
In Texas, firearm possession is already protected in the domicile and personal vehicle and, over the years, we have not noted a rash of firearm misuse in the defense of property. To the contrary, in rural areas where there are more firearms than people, property crimes and assaults are relatively rare. I maintain this is so precisely because criminals, even dopers with chemically altered brain chemistry and clouded judgment, are still not so addled as to enter an occupied dwelling in areas where firearms are common. I believe that we fail to credit the ready access to firearms as an important deterrent to crime. All criminals are predators, not just the sexual variety. They prey upon the weak and, to paraphrase the Old West saying about Sam Colt, not only did Colonel Colt make man equal but he made the weak strong. To continue this line of reasoning, I expect that the general discussion surrounding the passing of CC will encourage Texas women to investigate their options to protect themselves from abusive partners. Far from causing more violence, CC may lower the incidence of violence and homicide in domestic conflict. Far better to call a clergyman, counselor or attorney than risk a bullet. Only time and statistical analysis will tell the tale of human behavior. I prefer empowerment over forcing the innocent to be brutalized, a gun over strangling.
Finally, based upon my experience adjudicating visa cases overseas, I believe that CC in Texas came none too soon. Every single visa issuance required a check with the Visa Lookout System (VLOS) to ensure that the applicant was not ineligible under US Law. DEA, FBI, and the intelligence services fed into the system. Contrast that effort to protect the public with the current unlimited entry of hundreds of thousands persons across our Southern border. Criminals have surely taken advantage of the general disorder to enter Texas. Many will know of the general possession of firearms afforded by CC and may wisely take themselves to other parts of the US where the population is much less able to protect itself because of the gun control laws which constrain the good folks to defend themselves but never the bad to attack.
“The answer Kevin is so we can oppose a tyrannical government.” Well said & true Darren!
Our government definitely sees themselves as rulers and not servants…Tyranny at its finest. Elitists. They have lost the original way and the forefathers seen it coming and warned us.