Since the Governor’s State of the Union address, the State has lost over 1,200 jobs in the Financial services sector. Crime & violence in Wilmington continue at a record pace. DelDot’s problems remain unaddressed. So, what do you do? Change the subject to… gun control.
Guns & Booze — always a bad mix. In the press conference yesterday, the Governor said that he wants to make sure that those criminals who have a concealed carry permit; which requires taking gun training classes, getting five friends to attest to their competency, and petitioning a judge; are not beyond the reach of the law. As if these people are the ones causing the violence in Wilmington. How bizarre. I know a number of folks with concealed permits. I’m not worried that they are a threat to civil society. The gang bangers shooting people in Wilmington are already illegally carrying a firearm, probably an illegally purchased firearm. This bill does nothing to stop them — they’re already breaking the law.
Gun Shows — Selling a firearm to a felon will get you 7 years in Federal court and 3 years in State court. The recipient of the firearm, a felon, will receive similar sentences. Any Federally licensed firearm dealer at a trade show is required to conduct a background check, even at the trade show. So, the “loop hole” if you can call it that is this: Is there an open market for untraceable firearms by private sellers & buyers at a gun show? Or as some on the left might put it… are anti-government, gun-owning wing nuts running around gun shows trying to pedal their wares to roving gangs of thugs? Since the Governor provided no example of any firearm in police possession that had been used in a crime that was acquired at a gun show, I have to assume the answer is no.
But I don’t want to assume. What do we know? We know that every firearm has a serial number. That the serial number is tracked by every licensed dealer that sells that firearm. For every firearm used in the commission of a felony, the serial number can be traced to the purchaser who purchased the firearm from the last dealer in the chain. Doesn’t this allow for rampant untraceable sales at gun shows? Probably not. Delaware law requires any licensed gun dealer to provide access to the Federal background check registry to anyone conducting a private firearm sale. So, at a gun show, the private seller simply goes to a licensed dealer at the show and asks them to run the check (a small fee may apply). Why would the seller do this? So that they can stay out of jail by knowing that they are not selling to a felon (and thus avoiding 10 years in jail when the traceable firearm is traced to them). To reiterate, the Governor provided no evidence that crimes in Wilmington were being perpetrated by individuals who purchased firearms at gun shows.
Perhaps I’m wrong — Now, in both of the above, I may be wrong. To that end, it should be reasonably simple to provide the evidence that going after lawful citizens with concealed carry permits and lawful citizens participating in gun shows will reduce the crime and violence in Wilmington. Just provide the evidence that crimes are being perpetrated by drunk, legal concealed carriers and/or thugs whose weapon was purchased at a gun show. Please show us the evidence that these bills will accomplish anything other than a feel-good press conference.
But if I’m right — Here are some steps toward addressing Wilmington’s gun violence problem and Delaware’s ever-growing gang (not gun) problem:
- Admit that Wilmington and every major community in Delaware has a gang problem not a gun problem.
- Recognize and admit that many of Wilmington’s gang problems come from Pennsylvania (Chester, Philadelphia & others), New Jersey (Trenton & others), Maryland (Baltimore & others), Washington, D.C., and occasionally even New York City.
- Recognize and admit that until Wilmington’s gang problem is addressed without regard to artificial city, county and state boundary lines by a coordinated and cohesive law enforcement entity, no law or body of laws can be effective in realistically addressing the violence on the mean streets of Wilmington, or elsewhere.
Once these preliminary steps have been accomplished, the stage will finally be set to actually accomplish something of real value for the people of the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware.
Therefore, I recommend that the Governor:
- Convene a “Tri-State Summit on Gang Violence” to be held in Wilmington and to invite Governor Corbett of Pennsylvania and Governor Christie of New Jersey to serve as co-hosts with him.
(a) Invite Attorneys General Biden (DE), Ryan (PA) and Dow (N.J.) to attend.
(b) US Attorneys Oberly (District of DE), Memeger (Eastern District of PA) and Fishman (District of N.J) should also be invited to participate.
(c) The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration should also each be invited to send a senior representative armed with the authority to act on behalf of their respective agencies.
- Use this forum to insist upon the creation of a federal “Tri-State Gang Violence Task Force” whose purpose would be to identify and destroy the criminal gangs operating in the greater tri-state area, with specific emphasis on RICO prosecutions under existing federal and state laws. (RICO means Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organizations Act).
- Call upon Delaware’s own native son, Vice President Biden, to use his substantial influence within the Obama Administration to ensure that all appropriate federal resources are given to this Tri-State Gang Violence Task Force.
Let’s get to the root cause instead of trying to implement solutions that are in search of the problem.