Two high-profile fatal shootings this week, including one in south King County for which a 19-year-old suspect was booked into jail early yesterday, offer ample evidence that there is a violent crime problem but it’s not because of lax gun laws.
The man booked into King County is identified by this morning’s Seattle Times as Froilan Hermenegildo. The story asserts that he has quite a criminal record for someone still in his teens, including two felony convictions earlier this year. In March he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession, of a firearm, and was released from jail in May, the Seattle Times reported.
“Last week,” the Times reported, “he was sentenced to community service after serving more than a month in jail for taking a vehicle without permission in August, court records say.” That used to be called auto theft. In the Old West, “taking a horse without permission” had a considerably harsher outcome.
About 3,000 miles away, in New York City, the focus is on alleged cop-killer Tyrone Howard. He’s the fellow now being held in the killing of Officer Randolph Holder, 33, and he’s no stranger to the New York courts. According to WABC, Howard “has four felony drug convictions and did stints in state prison, was arrested in October 2014 along with 18 other people and charged with selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer at a public housing complex.”
Instead of being locked in prison, Howard was “diverted” to a “treatment-oriented drug court,” WABC reported. The judge who did that, state Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin, was quoted explaining, “Why is this guy at least a candidate (for diversion)? Because nothing else has worked.” Perhaps instead of a “stint” in state prison, a long-term sentence might have kept this guy off the streets. That often works.
Yesterday, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms brought attention to an Italian mayor who has vowed to help citizens buy guns as a defense against criminals. Mayor Gianluca Buonanno of Borgosesia in Piedmont in northern Italy has offered 250 Euros apiece to citizens to help them pay for a gun. He says the Italian government has failed to protect honest citizens from criminals.
According to the Daily Mail, Mayor Buonanno’s offer is “to allow people to defend themselves from delinquents, who the government is privileging.” He might be providing an example that some American mayors should follow, suggested CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb.
WABC noted that anti-gun far-left New York Mayor Bill de Blasio even asserted that “Howard was among the thousands of people responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence citywide” should not have been on the streets. Yet the New York Times noted that de Blasio “has railed against the so-called iron pipeline of these weapons, which have been tied to many crimes in the city and to the deaths of three of the four New York police officers killed in the last 10 months. The gun used in the killing of Officer Randolph Holder, 33, on Tuesday, has yet to be found.”
That last sentence is important because the New York Daily News yesterday reported that “Cops said Howard pulled a .40-caliber handgun with a 30-shot clip and fired a single bullet into the cop’s forehead.” Examiner called the newspaper and is waiting for an answer to this question: If the gun “has yet to be found,” how do the unidentified cops know what kind of magazine was in the pistol?
Not only do these stories demonstrate that criminals ignore gun laws, regardless how tough – federal law prohibits convicted felons from owning or possessing firearms, and New York’s tough gun laws haven’t prevented recidivist criminals from getting them – but they also show that if there is any laxity to be blamed, it’s in the court system, not the gun laws. This simple lesson seems lost on the gun prohibition lobby.
Speaking of the gun ban crowd, anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s $50 million lobbying group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is already exploiting Holder’s murder via e-mail. Everytown President John Feinblatt released a statement noting, “Yet again, a law enforcement officer has been killed in the line of duty by a criminal who got his hands on an illegal gun, which is consistent with research finding that more than half of police officers killed in the line of duty in 2013 were killed by people prohibited from possessing guns.”
That should tell Feinblatt something. The tough gun laws that his group has wanted to impose nationally have already been proven ineffective at keeping guns out of the wrong hands. They have instead penalized honest citizens by treating the right to keep and bear arms as a heavily-regulated government privilege.
Feinblatt said something else that underscores the anti-gun lobby’s “credibility gap.” He acknowledged “…we don’t know the exact details of where this gun came from.” But then he insisted, “It’s time to close the loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to get guns.” If dangerous people were not turned loose by the courts, they would not be where they could get guns, no matter where the guns came from.
In the two cases mentioned above, the loophole appears to be in the courts. The suspects in the two fatal shootings should have been in jail, thus eliminating the possibility of either being on the streets, where they were arrested for allegedly committing heinous crimes with firearms that existing laws already prohibit them from having.
Bloomberg’s group should change its name and mission. It should call itself “Everytown for Public Safety” and its revised effort should be to “Close the Justice System loophole.” That means replacing liberal judges. It means harsh sentences for recidivist offenders. It means treating criminals like criminals, and leaving honest gun owners alone, and keeping your fingers off the Second Amendment.
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