Commentary

Keelan: ‘gun control’ no longer possible

by Don Keelan

When it comes to guns in America, one often hears the phrase ‘gun control.’ Such a phase should be discontinued; it is meaningless. 

Don Keelan

Today in the United States, 400 million guns are in private possession. A Wall Street Journal article in early June noted that the number of assault rifles (AR-15s and such) acquired since 1994 has increased from 400,000 to 20 million. This is since the ban on such weapons expired in 2004. 

Two critical factors to consider when addressing guns: there is no appetite among most Americans to change the 2nd Amendment, nor do they want to remove guns now in possession of law-abiding citizens. So, what do we do? 

The first step is to stop using the phrases ‘gun’ control or ‘gun’ reform. The weapon is not the issue. It is the person who takes this instrument and decides to use it for harm to oneself and others. 

In the past ten years, many shootings throughout America have been carried out by individuals prohibited from ever possessing a gun. 

The second step is for politicians to stop the charade of addressing the gun matter only when there is a horrible mass shooting at a school, house of worship, or shopping mall. In weeks, we will return to where we have been for the past 50 years because the recent tragedies will no longer be the center of our elected representatives’ interests. 

The recent decisions in Washington to address gun safety may make many feel like they have accomplished something by assisting states with red-flag laws (temporarily stripping guns from folks who might harm themselves or others); prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines; establishing standards for safe gun storage in one’s home; funding for mental illness; and waiting longer to purchase a gun. 

Gun violence is not just ‘someplace else,’ but in Vermont. The morning I wrote this column, the daily media reported shootings in Burlington, Bennington, Waterbury, and Watertown. I will wager that the shooters should not have possessed a firearm. So, how did they have a gun?

Before I go too far into opining, I am the first to yield to the experts. I bring little expertise to the complex issue of guns. What I bring is a degree of common sense. 

If a criminal commits yet another crime and possesses a gun, why not remove the criminal from society for five years in addition to the underlying criminal charge? If a second offense, DAs and judges have no choice; it is a mandatory ten-year prison sentence for gun possession or use. 

What if one does not have a criminal record but does commit a crime with a gun? They, as well, should face a mandatory five years in prison. These suggested mandates are not new. There are laws on the books, but they are not enforced by progressive/reformist district attorneys and judges. 

In many jurisdictions, the law-abiding citizen who wishes to own a gun must wait six months to be permitted. This time frame accomplishes two critical objectives: one to give research time for the gun applicant, and two to provide a time separation if needed. 

As long as the public perceives that the criminal will receive leniency, then expect the law-abiding citizen to acquire a gun. 

Look forward to a tsunami of gun purchases if the recent statement in the VTDigger by a legal fellow from the Vermont ACLU gains traction: “there is little evidence that police keep us safer.” 

Last month, Congress passed, and the President signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law. It will have a minimum impact until our elected leaders realize we must address the criminal, not the gun. If you use a firearm or provide the weapon for any unlawful purpose, you will be removed from society for a long time.

The author is a U.S. Marine (retired), CPA, and columnist living in Arlington, VT. Republished from Vermont State Police magazine.

Categories: Commentary

7 replies »

  1. Mandatory minimum sentencing it’s not a solution to any crime, just ask the inner city communities what that’s done for them.

    You’ve got it all wrong here. Up until 2020 the United States has been headed down at trajectory of less and less gun violence. The perceived threat that you’re speaking about has actually been dwindling over the years and is now being fueled by drugs coming across the border and the high cost of everything impoverishing all Americans.

    Furthermore in Vermont most of these people either don’t live here at all or have been in and out of these Court diversion programs and never actually paid the penalty for the crimes that they’ve already committed. Stacking time on top of it doesn’t do any good because they’re not required to do the time to begin with.

    I’m going to say it again we don’t need more laws we need people to follow the ones that we have specifically I’m talking about Judges and prosecutors (Sarah George).

    Lastly red flag laws are hugely unconstitutional it’s a thought crime at that point. If I have not committed a crime you should not be able to take my right away especially the absolute necessitive right of being able to protect myself.

    If you want to write about something why don’t you speak about how gun violence is always at the top of everyone’s list yet it kills 20,000 people per year if you remove the suicides which are obvious mental health problems. On the other side of the coin every year a gun is used to prevent 1.67 million other crimes.

    Did you know that the third leading cause of death among Americans is from medical malpractice at 400,000 people per year that died at the hands of a doctor.

    Why don’t you write about that?

  2. The Commiecrats that want to disarm us understand fully that it’s not about crime. They don’t care about crime or criminals, or they would enforce the laws on the books and punish the criminals that they are letting go and putting back on the streets to commit more crime and violence and thus they can clamor for more gun control. This is about the disarming of the American citizens of any weapon that is a threat to their power. Once they have a disarmed the citizenry, they will crack down on everyone, criminals included. They want any weapon that puts the citizens on an equal footing with the police state they are trying to create. They know that no war was ever won without the common foot soldier and his rifle. They do not want to happen to them what happened to the British when they tried to disarm us 3% of 400 million guns is quite an army.

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws”.
    Ayn Rand

    ENFORCE THE LAWS

    18 U.S.C. S.922(g) – possession of a firearm or ammunition by a felon, fugitive or drug user – 10 yrs.

    18 U.S.C. S.922(j) – possession of a stolen firearm – 10 yrs.

    18 U.S.C. S.922(I) – shipping, transporting or receipt of a firearm across state lines with intent to commit a felony – 10 yrs.

    18 U.S.C. S.924(a)(1)(A) -carrying, using or possessing a firearm in connection with a federal crime of violence or drug trafficking – 5 to 30 yrs. consecutive mandatory minimum sentences

    18 U.S.C. S.924(j) – for committing murder while possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence or drug trafficking – Death or up to life imprisonment

    18 U.S.C. S.924(e) for a “prohibited person” who has three prior convictions for drug offenses or violent felonies – 15 years mandatory minimum

    18 U.S.C. S.924(g) – for interstate travel to acquire or transfer a firearm to commit crimes – 10 yrs.

  3. You are correct, Sir, that “gun control” is an outmoded phrase…it has been replaced by Second Amendment opponents by the more politically palatable and deceptive “common sense gun safety measures”. Thank you for reminding people that incarceration of a miscreant actually does prevent that person from committing further offenses, at least out in public. Steel and concrete enclosures are very effective at containing evil. Another point to be made is that the recidivism rate of criminal perpetrators who were made to be deceased in a legally-justified act of self-defense is ZERO PERCENT. If the individuals who represent the ACLU and the VTDigger do not believe that police make us safer, I wonder who they call when they hear breaking glass at 2am, their favorite social worker? Most of us with some level of genuine common sense realize that having police is an inherently positive element of society, that they cannot be everywhere at all times and that when seconds count, they may be minutes away. The Second Amendment provides the option of a backup plan.

    • Just a few technical notes:
      It would help if the author didn’t use terminology employed by the gun-phobic media and the left. AR-15s are not assault weapons, yet for years now they have been referred to as such. As applied to AR-15s, that’s a misnomer. If it were fully automatic, then it could be called an assault weapon. But ARs are inherently semi-auto.
      ARs and AKs may resemble assault rifles or assault weapons, but they are not. It’s yet another example of using incorrect terminology to create a false narrative.

      The author writes, “In many jurisdictions, the law-abiding citizen who wishes to own a gun must wait six months to be permitted.”
      Perhaps in other states, but not in Vermont. Permits and registrations are not required in Vermont, so that statement has no relevance here.

  4. Just want to address the Elephant in the Room no one seems to be talking about. Take the guns from law-abiding citizens, defund the police, open border policy….

    If all this is successful, you will be ruled by Cartels in America, in your neighborhoods.

  5. Further, it is really disgusting that lawmakers, the media and ignorant people equate law abiding gunowners, NRA members and sportsmen with the 22-year-old monster who just killed 6 people and wounded 22 others during a 4th of July parade in Illinois shooting from a rooftop. Sick reporters tried to claim he was a Trump supporter which was quickly dispelled from his social media accounts.

    Illinois is rated 6th as having the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Chicago, 4th of July weekend 22 people killed 50 wounded. The places with the most killings are liberal cities and states with the most restrictive gun laws. These shootings are committed by repeat offenders back on the streets and they don’t buy their illegal guns at the gun dealer’s store. The shooters aren’t NRA members or sportsman, they are felons, gang members, drug dealers and madmen with histories of abuse and mental troubles. They are the products of a failed criminal justice system, the defund the police crowd, the new world order cult and liberal politicians bent on disarming Americans to hold on to their power to rule over the country.

    How easy it is for these politicians to pass worthless laws for the people who aren’t the problem. New York’s insane administration believes they can overrule the Supreme Court and do as they wish as NY city descends into a 3rd world, crime ridden apocalypse in the name of liberal power. At least the people are buying guns to protect themselves and their families from the hoards that are invading our country on the southern border. 12 Texas counties have sent a plea to the courts to call it an invasion. Drugs, guns, diseased, criminals, sex traffickers, gang members and you name it from 120 countries flowing into America and our government turns it’s back on this huge crisis. But they can whip up a few new gun control laws in a few days, dust them off and have them signed in a flash to make it look like our politicians’ care for our safety.

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