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Want To Get Serious About Policing Issues? Get Serious About Gun Control

June 8, 2020

We can all agree that the vast majority of police officers are doing a hard job and doing it with honor.  But there is no doubt, whatsoever, that there are elements within police departments who need to be brought to the attention of the public, and removed from their jobs. What the world witnessed for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis brought a deep and justifiable revulsion that will be a part of our national history. Changes are absolutely essential.  One can even say with accuracy some police unions across the nation have to change, as they have demonstrated a severe lack of sound judgement when it comes to ‘regulating their own’.

But let us get to the heart of this matter.

It needs to be clearly stated and understood that too many guns are allowed in the general population and that puts a great burden on the police departments nationwide.  It is when conservatives fail to call for strict gun control while at the same time frothing in support of police that we can correctly state their passions do not meet the needs of the time. Real concern about our police means dealing with the grotesque number of guns in our society.  If one is not working to make the streets safer in general, and dealing concretely with the statistic that an overwhelming number of people shot and killed by police are armed, then one is only spitting into the wind.

We need to be mindful when the populace can own every type of gun imaginable, in any number they wish, that a member of law enforcement must be prepared for the worst when they start their workday.  And when from any logical point of view there is a volatile situation occurring it is essential that law enforcement is prepared for the possibility that the most deadly array of guns might be at hand.   Forcing police officers to think in those terms is sadly the reality of the times we live in.

And we all are, in some part, responsible for that being the case.

We have to be better at demanding the NRA be put in their place, gun control measures adopted, and sanity brought to bear on the number of guns that are on the street.  It is time we truly consider what police have to always be aware of every time there is a call for their service.  The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of people killed (by police) are armed.  The graph below is from 2019 and compiled by the Washington Post.

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We have witnessed the seriously misguided laws in states that allow residents to carry concealed weapons with no more background check than you need to carry a concealed nutcracker.  We have witnessed moves to relax gun laws that border on pure insanity.  This is all done under the guise from the gun rights lobby that the more armed law-abiding people we have on our streets, the safer everybody will be.

But then we have those damn pesky facts that refute the claim made by the NRA.

By the end of 2015, officers had fatally shot nearly 1,000 people, twice as many as ever documented in one year by the federal government. With the issue flaring in city after city, some officials vowed to reform how police use force.

“The next year, however, police nationwide again shot and killed nearly 1,000 people. Then they fatally shot about the same number in 2017 — and have done so for every year after that, according to The Post’s ongoing count. Since 2015, police have shot and killed 5,400 people.”

The NRA argument can be rightly flushed, as it is worthy of nothing less.

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic and orders that kept millions at home for weeks, police shot and killed 463 people through the first week of June — 49 more than the same period in 2019. In May, police shot and killed 110 people, the most in any one month since The Post began tracking it.

The overwhelming majority of people killed are armed. Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white. 

I know gun control would make police jobs safer.  And our communities better.  How conservatives can not–or more to the point–will not put this two-car parade into motion in their thoughts and writings remain something for the rest of us to talk about.

Being pro-police means being pro-gun-control.

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