Recent public displays of violence have driven Democrats and even some so-called Republicans to strip away the rights of their constituents just to appear to be doing something about what appears to be a terrible, growing trend. As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides pointed out in his analysis of the New Jersey governor’s recent statements, no amount of new gun laws will stop violent crime. Thankfully, there are those in the swamp who haven’t taken flight of their senses entirely. Some understand that a different approach is necessary.
President Trump set in motion just such an alternative Monday, June 18, when he signed H.R.3249. Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act of 2018 establishes a grant to help local law enforcement agencies develop plans to reduce violent crimes. Those plans include a sort of “double barrel” approach by targeting both the enforcement and prevention aspects of the problem.
The grant will fund efforts to reach out to people at the street level, mediate conflict, provide treatment and social services as needed, and to change the norms of the community. Under “(b) Additional Purpose Areas,” the law suggests gang and youth violence education.
Too many see rampant violence – especially school shootings – and blame the weapon. Guns are bad. They’re taboo. If nothing else, they’re all too often simply not understood. Because of this, children are intrigued by firearms. Angry kids reach for guns to punish their peers for slights both real and imagined, and curious ones kill themselves or their friends accidentally. But every time this argument is made, someone responds by exclaiming that they grew up in a house full of guns – often fully loaded and simply left out leaning in a corner – and then demands to know how, if guns are so evil, they haven’t gone on a shooting spree yet.
It seems like an asinine retort at first flush, but it isn’t. It is legitimate evidence of the real problem. Children do feel drawn to that which is strange – or forbidden. Why don’t the crazy rural folk who grew up in gun-filled homes shoot up their schools, churches, and workplaces? They knew better. By the time they were old enough for school, guns were neither strange nor forbidden.
There was a time when firearm and hunting safety was taught in schools across the nation and believe it or not, education is still the answer. Those who learn to respect firearms for what they are and what they are not are far less likely to pick one up and start shooting people outside of defensive situations. This law seeks to reach young people before they feel driven to commit violent acts. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
But no amount of education and community outreach will change the fact that there are violent and crazy people in the world. No number of gun laws will prevent the truly determined criminal from acquiring such weapons. And with or without firearms, these people will still commit these vile acts.
Love it or hate it, there are already gun laws in effect – constitutional or otherwise – and the job of the law enforcement officer is to enforce the laws already in place. This act also supports the stricter enforcement of the gun laws already in place. Too many restrictions across the nation exist in clear violation of the Second Amendment, but the solution is to challenge and repeal those laws – not ignore them.
However, there is one curious and conspicuous omission from this bill. One of the most commonly offered alternatives to “common sense” gun control is sentencing enhancement for crimes involving weapons. Rather than restrict who can keep and bear what arms and in what situations, penalize only those who commit armed crimes by making their sentences significantly more severe. But this new piece of legislation makes no mention of such seemingly obvious measures.
It’s unclear what, if anything, will come of this new law. Will the Project Safe Neighborhoods Block Grant Program reduce violence and save lives? Only time will tell.