Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Pushes More Ineffective Gun Control

In mid-August "Organizing for Action," a nonprofit group which mobilizes support for President Obama's legislative and political agenda, organized the "Gun Violence Prevention Rally" in Cedar Rapids Iowa. According to a Gazette story only about 30 people wandered into the event.

The most prominent of the several community leaders to speak was Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman. Chief Jerman has been trying to organize a gun "buyback" program since early this summer yet has only received $1,000 in donations from the community for that program.

At the gun control rally, Jerman said he supports background checks for all gun sales, restricting gun magazines to 10 rounds and banning so-called "assault weapons." His support for these measures not only puts him out of touch with what has proven effective but also out of step with the vast majority of rank and file police officers who care more about catching bad guys than giving speeches.

Jerman's support for "universal background checks," while setting the framework for registration of lawful guns and law-abiding owners, would do little to reduce crime. A 2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of prison inmates convicted of gun crimes found that 79 percent acquired their firearms from off the books sources. Simply put, crack dealers buying guns on the black market will NOT be undergoing "universal background checks."

Perhaps that's why in a recent comprehensive survey of police officers, fully 79.7% of responding cops said that "a federal law prohibiting private, non-dealer transfers of firearms between individuals" would NOT reduce violent crime.

Restricting gun magazines to 10 rounds would be ineffective also. A 2004 Department of Justice report found "that assailants fire less than four shots on average, a number well within the 10-round magazine limit" making it irrelevant in most street crimes. Even in the more newsworthy yet rare mass shootings the arbitrary 10 round limit is mostly irrelevant. The Virginia Tech shooter and one of the Columbine shooters used 10 round magazines and were able to rack up massive body counts against their unarmed victims anyway.

An overwhelming 95.7 % of police officers said that a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would NOT reduce violent crime.

Jerman's support for banning "assault weapons" is equally unwarranted. Firstly, such a ban cuts to the heart of the Second Amendment giving a legislature a blank check to ban any and all firearms since "assault weapon" is a meaningless political term that can only be defined by the ban itself. Assault weapons affected by the previous federal ban were not fully-automatic "machine-guns" nor were they more powerful than traditional weapons.

So-called "assault weapons" were only used in a tiny percentage of crimes to begin with. Crime continued to fall after the federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and has continued to fall as previously banned weapons have sold by the million. Even the radical anti-gun group, Violence Policy Center, said “You can’t argue with a straight face that the [assault weapon] ban has been effective.”

71% of cops said that an ban on so-called "assault weapons" would have no effect on violent crime. Another 20.5% of police officers said that such a ban would actually INCREASE violent crime!

Oh, as for Jerman's gun "buyback" program that the community has not embraced, a recent CDC report stated simply that "gun turn-in programs are ineffective." 81.5% of police officers agree with that assessment.

Jerman's home state of Maryland ("There's yer problem!") has magazine capacity restrictions, bans on "assault pistols," and prohibitions on private sales of "regulated firearms," similar to the laws he is stumping for. Maryland also has a murder rate of 6.8 per 100,000 (in 2011) compared to Iowa's rate of 1.5 per 100,000. Sounds like those gun laws are really helping out there and we need to import them so we too can become a crime free Utopia like Maryland. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)

The taxpayers of Cedar Rapids need to decide if they are paying their police chief to serve and protect their community and ensure that beat cops have the resources they need to do their jobs or if they're paying him to be a political shill for the anti-freedom agenda of the Obama administration.

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