Ask a Cop

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Illustration: Sean Hennefer

Dear Cop,
According to the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services, 6,200 individuals were killed by handguns in 2001, which accounts for 72% of the total of gun-related deaths for that type of weapon. The other weapon types include rifles (4%), shotguns (4%), other guns (1%) and undisclosed (18%).

The Obama administration and other politicians have focused primarily on limiting accessibility to high-powered rifles and large-capacity magazines, which clearly does not speak to the majority of gun-related deaths in our country.

What is the point in reapplying a ban on assault weapons or outlawing magazines that have the capacity to carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition, when approximately 3 out of 4 deaths are the result of handguns?
–Jimmy Martin

Sir James:
I think your inference that there is no point is correct. How would an assault rifle/magazine ban stop firearm deaths? I think the politicos’ intention, by even considering it, is to promote the appearance that they’re doing something and are not impotent.

Firearm violence, as an effect of criminal acts such as gang warfare, robbery, drugs, domestic violence, etc. has always been a part of American culture. I don’t believe that type of firearm violence can be stopped. The issue of an assault weapon/magazine ban comes up every time there’s a mass shooting that shocks our conscience. I believe that type of firearm violence can be greatly reduced. There have been 60-plus mass shootings in this country in the past 30 years. One sixth of them (and the worst), have occurred in the past five years.

I would offer that the rise of mass shootings, coupled with each shooting competing to be more horrendous than the last, corresponds with the constant media, social networking, instant mobile update, TMZ society we now live in. There are psychos out there who will do anything—like mass shootings of little children—to become immortalized. The point of any ban should be to focus on eliminating any impetus or motivation to commit these horrific acts. Banning assault weapons or high capacity magazines will not do that, as your statistic clearly shows.

The insane nutjobs tell us why they commit these acts. They Facebook it, write manifestos and release YouTube videos. The commonality is they want to be celebrated or remembered. What better way to accomplish this than killing a lot of first graders?

Some solutions I’d like to offer in place of banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines:
1.  Media should cease to cover, report, discuss, comment, refer or infer, anything about mass shootings. Any type of media that glorifies a psycho mass killer should cease to exist.
2.  We should stop buying or playing any video game that immortalizes mass killing.
3. No one should be allowed to own or sell a firearm without a background check. We should do everything within our control to make it as difficult as possible for a psycho killer to get a gun.
4. We should have armed and trained security officers, cops, ex-cops, military, ex-military, even teachers in every soft target like malls, markets, schools, whatever, as a first line of defense, until the psychos choose new targets. When they do, we protect them as well.

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