Silly Crime Summit Take II

By Gerard Valentino

A Crime Summit planned for August 30th in Washington D.C. is expected to attract law enforcement and elected officials from more than a dozen cities. The goal of the meeting is to discuss the increase in crime during 2005. One thing you can take to the bank is that the participants will blame guns for the increase in crime - they always do.

It seems to be epidemic among law enforcement agency bureaucrats to blame guns, regardless of the mounds of evidence to the contrary. As usual, the establishment media falls on their every word and holds them up as experts on the issue of gun control. The problem is they have a vested interest in saying the problems that cause crime are out of their control.

Click on 'Read More' for the entire op-ed.

If they admit that crime is up for a reason that is within their span of influence, it is an admission of incompetence. That is something their ego simply won’t allow. Instead they clamor for more gun-control as away to reduce crime, ignoring that in the last 40 years crime is at historic highs, and gun laws are the most restrictive in our history.

Law enforcement bureaucrats are seen by the American public as a group above usual partisan politics. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, which is proven by the willingness of their advocacy and labor groups to give endorsements during political campaigns. Rarely, does a law enforcement labor union pass on a chance to endorse a liberal pro-union candidate.

Those same candidates use such endorsements to tout themselves as the candidate of all law enforcement officers - forgetting that a union is a union, is a union. Advocacy groups aren’t any different in their scope. They attempt to further whatever particular issue fits their interest.

If the self-described leaders of the law-enforcement community demand that their advocacy groups push an anti-gun agenda, that is what will happen.

Anti-gun crusader Sarah Brady has often said that their movement will rise again. Considering the anti-gun movement’s past practice of capitalizing on tragedies like the Columbine school massacre, it is the increase in crime during 2005 that will give them a possible foothold. When the law enforcement bureaucrats throw law-abiding gun owners under the bus at the August 30th conference, the anti-gun gang will use that to their advantage as well.

Bill Clinton’s assault weapons ban was the fruit of successful lobbying of law enforcement unions and groups like the Brady gang. Their one-two punch was enough to defeat the National Rifle Association’s dominant lobbying presence.

The Republican revolution of 1994, however, allowed pro-gun activists to regain their place of dominance, and for the first time since the 1960’s gun-control laws were slowly repealed. Now that law enforcement bureaucrats, law enforcement labor unions and the Brady gang again have the same interest in seeing guns take the fall for bad anti-gun policy, they are poised to jump into the debate once more.

Stories in the establishment media heralding the return of crime due to the weakening of gun laws, (which makes for great ratings) are sure to follow. If the past is any indication, those stories will surely quote anti-gun leaders and law enforcement bureaucrats without giving pro-gun activists equal time. As if law enforcement leadership is an adequate balance to the anti-gun movement’s misguided diatribes.

Most law enforcement bureaucrats are not experts on gun policy. In fact, most are not experts in any public policy issue that they are asked to comment on. But, since their agencies can benefit from certain widely-held beliefs, the leadership makes sure to push their own agenda.

Rank-and-file officers often don’t agree with the policies of the administration. Many street officers welcome law-abiding citizens with guns as a way to deter crime and protect others. They know the police most often arrive after the assault, homicide or robbery already has taken place. Some, although not all, are serious about keeping their marksmanship skills sharp and shoot often enough to become true experts on guns.

Bad law enforcement agencies create a conformist and alarmist attitude about 'shall issue' concealed carry laws. The bureaucrats brow-beat officers into the same misguided attitude who then take that bad attitude on the street. In Ohio, where for over 100 years a loaded gun in a car meant the driver is a criminal, there were growing pains in changing the fear police officers felt in dealing with armed citizens.

The good agencies made the adjustments over time and realized they had nothing to fear. Not every agency was able to make the transition and for license-holders it became clear that certain agencies were to be avoided.

For years such agencies blamed guns for crime, not their own poor policing efforts, instead of stepping up their own performance. Another gun summit attended by anti-gun mayor’s and police agency bureaucrats won’t change that fact. It will only make for a public relations coup for the anti-gun movement and law enforcement bureaucrats more concerned with painting an unfair picture of reality.

Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair.

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