THUNDER BAY – Dr Lech Beltowski says, “The stated aim of gun laws is to reduce gun crime, reduce injury and save innocent lives. This is supposed to occur because imposing legal restrictions on the ownership of guns by ordinary law-abiding citizens will- by reducing the number of legal guns in circulation- make it harder for those who are “mad or bad” to get guns”.
“Yet decades of restrictive gun laws have not reduced violent crime but have sharply increased it,” continues Beltowski.
“We all need to understand the following;
1) Current gun laws are futile and wasteful. They do not deter or prevent criminals or the seriously mentally disturbed from obtaining illegal weapons or from committing violent crimes, no matter how tough and restrictive they are made.
2) The ONLY thing any properly administered gun law CAN actually do is ensure that only the law-abiding, only “fit and proper persons” get LEGAL access to LEGAL firearms.
3) No gun law, no matter how tough, can compensate for misfocussed, poor or erratic enforcement of the large number of existing laws already designed to prevent criminal activity.
4) No gun law can ever compensate for a mental health system that allows potentially violent persons to remain in the community unsupervised and often unmedicated.
5) In a democracy, the only legitimate reason for having any law is that it confers a perceived greater social or community good for the (apparent) lesser price of a minor restriction (an “inconvenience”) on personal liberty. Traditional gun laws fail this vital test”.
Dr. Beltowski is the President of the Sporting Shooter’s Association of New Zealand.
“What needs to be done to halt and then reverse the present dramatic rise in violent crime? What focus, what new laws are needed?” asks Beltowski.
“Traditional gun control laws that only target the law-abiding firearms owner have no place in any new approach and need to be replaced with something that actually works. There is now conclusive evidence that the real relationship between the number of legal guns in a society and violent crime is inverse (that is, as the number of law-abiding citizens with guns rises then the number of violent crimes -including gun crimes- falls). This explains perfectly why traditional gun control efforts have failed and why simplistic if well intentioned laws intended to reduce the number of legal guns in society have made the problem of violent crime worse”.
The Doctor continues, “There is only one logical and effective way of dealing with the problem not just of gun violence (which in NZ is only 1% of our violent crime) but of ALL violence and that is to ensure that police, corrections and mental health focus on where the problem actually lies. What is needed to control our rising violent crime rate is not a list of law-abiding gun owners but a much smaller list of criminals and violent persons (a Prohibited Persons Register) for police, mental health and corrections to focus on and properly control”.
“Indeed, it seems absurd that the key organisations responsible for keeping law and order do not already compile and use such a list to share important information and to efficiently focus their activities”.
“A Prohibited Persons Register, sensibly written and properly enforced would rapidly reduce all crime while allowing the present Minister of Police to deliver on her pledge not to penalise law-abiding citizens for the actions of criminals”.
For the first time in over half a century the law-abiding would finally be rewarded, would have their rights respected and protected while those who choose to engage in crime and other serious anti-social activities would -at long last- start to see their rights selectively eroded. Isn’t that how it should always have been?, concluded Beltowski.