Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How Do We Keep Guns Away From Cop Killers?

The brutal assassination of two New York City police officers was an unspeakable tragedy.

For those of us with family members in law enforcement, it was a horrific reminder of the risks that police officers face each and every day.

For those of us who follow politics, it was an illustration of how fear mongering and propaganda have serious consequences.

And for those of us who believe deeply in gun rights, it was an illustration that even our most precious ideals sometimes have exceptions.

This tragedy made me realize that police need better tools to keep guns away from violent thugs. The unfortunate fact is that existing gun laws did nothing to stop cop killer Ismail Brinsley.

Brinsley was able to get his hands on a gun despite having been arrested fifteen times and having already spent four terms in prison. With no chance of passing a criminal background check, he bought the murder weapon – a Taurus P92 9mm – by turning to the black market and buying the gun illegally.

Stopping illegal gun purchases could mean passing laws that crack down on “straw purchasing” – where a legal gun owner purchases a weapon for a criminal. It could mean developing a better system for monitoring the gun ownership of convicted felons. It could mean developing a national database of the mentally ill, as the NRA has proposed.

Finding the right solution is not going to be easy. But the NYPD murders show that police need to be better equipped to protect themselves and the public from violent thugs with guns.

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