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When US Gun Laws Aren't Enforced

There is a great deal of debate in the US regarding gun control. This is an emotionally charged issue, so it is difficult to use logic and facts to offer explanations. Too often, people want to disregard the facts in favor of emotions. However, all we can do is try. One way is to explain that more gun laws are much less of an answer than enforcing existing gun laws.

A lot of folks don’t understand what gun laws aren’t enforced. I recently read a wonderful explanation, giving an example of a gun law that isn’t enforced. I’m paraphrasing it here.

It should be mentioned that there are presently over 20,000 gun laws in the US, and that is being conservative. These deal with everything from what guns can be purchased, where they can be purchased, who can purchase them, how they can be purchased, and how they are to be used. So what is the example of a gun law that often isn’t enforced?

Let’s say that “Tom” is a convicted drug felon. By law, he can’t purchase, have, keep, or own a gun. So his girlfriend, Nancy, buys a gun and gives it to Tom. This is called a straw purchase and it is illegal. People can only buy guns for themselves.

So Tom has a gun and while making a drug purchase gone bad, he shoots and kills a police officer. In apprehending Tom, a gunfight ensues and Tom is subsequently shot and killed. An investigation is conducted and it is discovered that Tom got the gun from his girlfriend, Nancy.

By law, that makes Nancy an accomplice to murder, even though she didn’t know that Tom was going to kill a policeman or anyone else. She is brought up on charges and when she goes to court, she is given a year of probation, during which she must wear an ankle device.

This isn’t a made-up scenario. It has happened, many times. Lawyers often refer to this situation as the “girlfriend clause”. 

According to the law, an accomplice to murder (Nancy) is just as guilty as the person pulling the trigger (Tom). That means that the minimum sentence for Nancy should be incarceration for no less than 5 years. Clearly, this law hasn’t been enforced, which isn’t particularly consoling to the dead police officer’s wife and children.

I personally have an issue with a number of gun control laws, for various reasons. However, I still follow them, even if I don’t agree with them. However, when laws aren’t enforced, it does absolutely no good to have the law in the first place. Adding more laws isn’t going to change anything, particularly if laws continue to not be enforced.

Consider; it is illegal to manufacture, sell, buy, possess, or use illicit drugs. This amounts to a total ban on illicit drugs. Yet, the problem with illicit drugs in the US continues to grow, as it does in most other countries as well. The existence of laws banning illicit drugs obviously hasn’t had a positive impact on the abuse of drugs.

Additional gun laws would be no more successful in the US. More laws that aren’t enforced are also not worth the effort. All it really accomplishes is to make lawmakers look foolish. They aren’t trying to resolve a problem, they are trying to gain popular support.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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