Quinn: Gun control issues
Vail Daily Editor Nate Peterson and others have contributed to the national discussion arising from the Boulder shooting. Some observations and questions:
1. Not much was said about the primary reason people are buying guns these days. It’s protection. Colorado already has universal background checks. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Insta-Check operation is pretty efficient. Usually, there was a handful in the queue and only a 10- or 20-minute wait for pass or fail. In the past number of months the time has extended. It grew to a few thousand at any time; as I write this on April 1, there are over 7,000 in line and the wait period is almost five days.
Why all the demand for firearms? Have all these gun buyers gone crazy, or do their apprehensions have a rational basis?
It’s not because most are planning to commit mayhem. It’s because they are scared about violence — as from Antifa, Black Lives Matter and other such groups. Also freelance criminals. News reports indicate that violent crime is way up in urban areas. Civil disorder, such as from financial collapse, EMP or an unpopular decision in the George Floyd case, could produce urban disorder and swarms of refugees who cannot be controlled.
We have examples of recent disorders in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The mainstream media don’t cover these events very well, but the information is there if you look for it. In the past week Antifa attacked a rally in Salem, Oregon. According to police they were dressed in the usual black, some wearing ballistic vests, and carrying such objects as firearms, bats, skateboards and gas masks. These guys play hardball. This is temper of our time.
The Left promotes defunding police and ordering them to hold back from dealing with disorder. As Denver Mayor Michael Hancock did last summer when a Pro-Blue rally was interrupted by leftists. Ask reporter Andy Ngo about how he got assaulted during a commotion in Portland and police failed to intervene.
2. From what I can tell from news reports, the attacks in Boulder and Atlanta were at close range — under 30 yards. Is it likely that comparable damage could have been inflicted with a handgun or pump action shotgun? Eventually, I presume this detail will be clarified.
3. Common remarks about AR-15 rifles say they are “weapons of war” and “only good for killing a lot of people.” They are good for taking out varmints, coyotes, wolves and bad people who are threatening me and mine.
Semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 are preferred because they are reliable, easy to use and do the job of dealing with a number of assailants. There are currently about 15 to 20 million such weapons out there now. Not many are used illegally.
They are a good deterrent just by being displayed. Remember that couple from St. Louis last year who had to get out their guns, including an AR-15, and stand on the porch when a mob trespassed and made threats? During the Rodney King riots, LAPD deserted certain neighborhoods, like where Koreans lived and had businesses. So the people got out their semi automatic guns and deterred the mobs from assaulting people and destroying that part of town.
What would Nate Peterson, et al do if a mob of Antifa, Black Lives Matter or other such group were headed their way — hand out peace flowers?
4. There are renewed calls to ban high capacity magazines. I have not been able to learn what capacity magazine was used in Boulder. But if the shooter bought those devices at the same place he bought the rifle — a retail outlet in the Denver Metro area — it is unlikely he got high capacity magazines. Because Colorado has a law forbidding their sale. I have not heard that the store owner has been charged with selling illegal, high capacity magazines. Again, we’ll have to wait for further details to be released.
5. Peterson said that in the period since 1993, 47 Coloradans have been killed in mass shootings.That’s 17 years. Places like Chicago, which has strict gun control, can meet that total in less than two months.
6. Which brings up another point. Rifles are not used in that many homicides. According to the FBI, rifles of all kinds — semi auto, bolt action, lever action, pump action, single shot — are used in less than 3% of homicides. Knives, clubs and other such instruments cause four times as many deaths.
7. Colorado has a red flag law to get dangerous instruments out of the hands of those who are exhibiting unsettling behavior. In the case of the Boulder shooter, there are reports that he was emotionally unstable, to the point that a relative took his gun away for a while. Why didn’t the family contact police, for action under the red flag law? If they had, this tragedy could have been avoided.
8. If Peterson and others want to go on without effective means of protection, that’s their business; but they are wrong to criticize others who see things differently.