Monday, April 29, 2013

Illegal guns and gun control and the Boston bombers

 cross posted from MN Political Roundtable

Illegal guns and the Boston Bombers (alleged)

We’ve heard repeatedly from the gun-huggers that if we pass gun control, only the criminals will have guns.

Never mind that in every comparably developed country in the eastern and western hemisphere, where there is effective gun control, there is less crime committed involving guns, far fewer suicides involving guns, and far fewer accidents involving guns, especially accidents involving children and firearms.

In the case of the Boston bombers, where an MIT campus police officer was gunned down, we were told initially that the domestic terrorists were heavily armed.  We were told that the younger brother who was found hiding out in a boat, wounded, fired on the FBI and ATF officers, who were heard sending a fusillade of fire into the boat where the suspect was hiding before he staggered out and surrendered.  The boat owner in interviews has rejected donations to replace his boat, directing them instead to the survivors of this domestic terrorism, but apparently his boat is irreparably damaged; it is trashed, it is a total loss, by the number of bullets fired into it, as a result of someone firing accidentally among law enforcement personnel, which was mistakenly taken as firing by the suspect.

In the case of the preceding events, the day before, it now appears that the two suspect bombers did not in fact rob a convenience store.  They did car jack a black SUV, apparently at gun point.  In the subsequent shootout  to the fatal shooting of the MIT LEO, it has been reported that over 200 rounds were fired, but it is unclear how many of those rounds were fired by the older of the two suspects.  It does appear that the older brother was trying to use his firearm for some form of suppression fire that would allow him to get closer to law enforcement officers in order to devastate them with an exploding suicide vest that failed.  Apart from the injuries sustained from the malfunctioning suicide vest which left bad burns, and the bullet holes fired by LEOs that found their target – which don’t appear to be that extensive, but hopefully that detail will become clearer at a later time.  What has been reported is that the older brother survived for a number of hours after this exchange, in spite of the report that has not so far been discarded, that the younger brother drove the large black SUV OVER his brother’s body in his attempt to escape from the authorities.  Having a car drive over you, and being burned, and still surviving for a number of hours at least suggests a lack of serious, eventually fatal, bullet wounds to the terrorist from law enforcement.

Clearly, the response of law enforcement, as we all watched with varying degrees of attention, the search for the second terrorist, showed a lot of armed and armored up men.  Clearly they were expecting more suicide bomb vests, more IEDs, more gun fire.  But equally clearly, these two terrorists were NOT as well armed as first believed.

And the fact that the two terrorists had only one gun between them is because gun control in states like Massachusetts, which has fairly strict gun control, works, and it works well.  Where states – and cities, like New York City – are effective in gun control, those fewer guns which are still problematic in crime come almost entirely from lax gun control states.  If those states better regulated the guns that get into the hands of criminals, our law enforcement would be much safer, innocent boats would not be riddled like swiss cheese, and suspects like the second alleged bomber would quite possibly not be so physically impaired as to make questioning as difficult as it has been — and THAT would also make us all much safer.

We may never connect all the dots to explain how the two alleged bomber brothers got their hands on a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, but we may at some future point learn where it was originally sold.  (I’m betting on a Walmart, because they have a history of problems with failures to properly follow laws, both federal and local, for firearms sales while being the largest firearms seller in the country,)  But we already do know that the two brothers did not have a permit, and as noted on the web site for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife:


Massachusetts residents 15 years and older who wish to possess, carry, transport firearms, ammunition and feeding devices are required to have a firearms license.

Additionally, Massachusetts has an assault weapons and assault-STYLE weapons ban, which may explain why the only weapon in the possession of the bombers was a handgun. States that have such bans in place have fewer instances of gun crimes committed with that kind of weapon – another indication that such weapons bans are effective.  As a ‘may issue’ state, law enforcement has the discretion to deny permits to those who should not have firearms.  If the two (alleged) bombers HAD been armed with one or more assault style weapons, and with more hand guns, as we have seen in other incidents involving shoot-outs with law enforcement, it is likely there would have been more injuries and possibly even fatalities among law enforcement.  Boston, for all the damage done by improvised bombs, had far fewer fatalities than the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado, in the suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, or in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Not one single privately armed person was instrumental in preventing the actions of the bombers; no ‘good guy with a gun’ did a damned thing to reduce the violence or prevent it.  Private citizens armed like the military is not the equal of a real military, of the forces of law enforcement and other agencies that were so effective in dealing with this domestic terrorism.

Gun control makes us free – free from gun violence, and freer from armed terrorists.  Real freedom, real public safety, real public health decision require us to have MORE gun control, not less.

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