Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Background Checks a Failed Paradigm: Prohibited Possession Works

The failed paradigm that has been followed for 44 years in the United States has been to attempt, unsuccessfully, to prevent crime by not allowing prohibited groups from buying firearms. Obviously, this approach has not worked. It is a failed paradigm because its focus is on the 99 percent of people who do not need to be controlled, instead of the 1 percent who do. The 1 percent can always find a way to obtain firearms illegally. The Supreme court has ruled that in the United States, you have a right to a loaded, unlocked handgun that is in common usage. This means that those who want illegal guns will always have a supply of them from the legal stock.

If that is not enough, the technology of guns is well developed and easily replicated in home workshops. The emerging 3-D printer technology has already produced legal semi-auto weapons and 30 round magazines. No background check can stop prohibited people from obtaining firearms with this technology. Those who do not trust politicians' promises claim that stopping criminals and madmen from obtaining firearms was never the intent of these laws. Instead they serve as a means of moving toward a national database of legal firearms preparatory to piecemeal confiscation over generations, as happened in England.

What has worked to decrease the number of murders, what has a proven track record, is focusing on prohibiting the possession of guns by dangerous individuals, instead of their acquisition of guns.

Focusing on the acquisition of guns creates the necessity of a huge, expensive and ineffective bureaucratic system aimed at the 99 percent of the population that does not commit violent crimes. It assumes that everyone is a criminal who has to prove that they are not a criminal in order to acquire a gun. What works is to focus on the small number of people who have shown that they cannot be trusted with a gun, and to make sure that they do not have a gun.

This system actually works. It worked in Operation Ceasefire in Boston in 1996. It has worked in Minneapolis, Salinas (California) and in Indianapolis. It is backed by pony tailed liberals and the NRA.

As detailed in David M. Kennedy’s work, and long known by police officers everywhere, the vast majority of murderous violence is conducted by a very small number of individuals. Those individuals are known in their communities and by the police. The number of murders can be tremendously reduced by focusing on those individuals and making sure that they are disarmed, put in jail, or dissuaded from their criminal careers and placed into situations where they can get treatment or an alternate to their criminal associations and habits.

We have limited resources. We are currently putting enormous resources into scrutinizing the vast majority of people who do not pose a problem. It is a failed paradigm. It does not work. It creates a deep and not unfounded suspicion that the real purpose is the ultimate destruction of the gun culture and the right to keep and bear arms in America.

We should stop this approach and instead focus on the small number of people who are truly dangerous. Those people should be closely monitored and either put in jail or given treatment. The resources needed to do this would be a small fraction of what is being devoted to the failed paradigm of background checks.

Dean Weingarten

Background Check False Positive Analysis Link

Supreme court on unlocked, loaded handguns Link

3-D printed 30 round magazines Link

Operation Ceasefire Link

Project Exile NRA-ILA Link

David M. Kennedy Link


Anonymous said...

"What has worked to decrease the number of murders, what has a proven track record, is focusing on prohibiting the possession of guns by dangerous individuals, instead of their acquisition of guns."

Yes, but finding the dangerous felon who's non-felon wife/girlfriend/whatever has the guns in "their" house. This happens all the time. Dangerous people will get guns as long as we allow them to roam among us.

Dean Weingarten said...

What David M. Kennedy has found is that once you identify those individuals (which is not hard, they are well known in the community, and have long police rap sheets) you focus on them. You keep them under a watchful eye. You let them know that they are being watched. You let them know that their behaviour is a one way ticket to a short and brutal life. Some are rational enough to mend their ways. Most of the rest will make a mistake and be sent to prison. One of those mistakes, which is fairly common, is to possess firearms or ammunition when they are a convicted felon.

If you stop this approach, the murder rates start going back up, because the bad guys are either no longer in jail, or fear the other criminals more than they fear the police.