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Kamala Harris’s Poorly Thought Out Gun Control Proposals

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) took flak for politicizing the shooting of police in Philadelphia on Wednesday. She couldn’t even wait more than an hour before pushing gun control. But there is a big problem with her solutions to have more regulations for gun dealers. She didn’t even yet know how the attacker got his guns, but it is delusional to think that any regulations on gun dealers are going to significantly stop drug dealers from getting guns. 


She announced again on CNN Wednesday that she wants “to take the licenses of gun dealers who violate the law.” What she means is to drive out of business gun dealers who make even the tiniest, meaningless paperwork errors. 

It is hard to ignore that the shooter, 36-year-old Maurice Hill, has a lengthy criminal history of drug dealing and gun convictions. He is not the type of guy who was buying a gun from a licensed gun dealer.

But one need look no further than Mexico, which borders Harris’s home state of California, to see how well her proposed regulations would work in stopping drug dealers from getting weapons.

Mexico has draconian gun control laws and has gone far beyond removing the licenses from a significant number of gun dealers. Since 1972, there has only been one gun store in the country, located in Mexico City. The military runs it, and guns are very costly. Only about 1 percent of Mexicans have a license to legally own guns. In addition, since 1972, the most powerful rifles that you can legally buy in Mexico are .22 caliber. 

So how well has that worked in stopping drug gangs from getting weapons? In June, Mexico, a country with less than 40 percent of the US’s population, had over 3,000 murders. During the first six months of the year, they had over 17,500 murders. Their murder rate is nearly six times the US rate, and some Mexican states have murder rates over 100 per 100,000 people.


Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is "angry about someone having all that weaponry and all that firepower." But if you think that strict limits on what types of guns law-abiding people own will stop drug dealers from getting the weapons they want, again look at Mexico. Hint: drug gangs aren’t using .22 caliber guns.

By the way, Mexico’s murder rate stopped falling and started rising after the 1972 gun control laws. The reason for instituting their gun control laws was because of fears that radical students who were staging demonstrations at the nation’s universities would cause a revolution and overthrow the government. The murder rates now are more than twice what they were before their gun control laws. 

So why is it so hard to keep drug dealers from getting guns? The answer is simple: illegal drug profits. Gang members can’t go to the police to ask for help getting their drugs back from other dealers who might have stolen their supply. Gangs need guns to protect their valuable property, and they can bring guns into Mexico just as easily as they bring in their drugs.

Drug gangs steal some guns from the Mexican military. Only about 15% of guns in Mexico come from the U.S. Since the U.S. is unique in requiring serial numbers on guns, it is relatively easy for Mexico to figure out what guns are from the U.S. Mexico guesses that about 17% of their crime guns are from the US and it gives those guns to the US to be traced.  It turns out that about 90% of those, or 15% of the total, did come from the US.


If Kamala Harris could click her fingers today and cause all guns to disappear from the United States and all illegal drugs, how long would it take for illegal drugs to start getting back into the US? If you are in El Paso or parts of Southern California, 20 minutes? How long would it take for these drug dealers to bring in the weapons that they would need to protect their valuable property? They would bring them in at the same time. 

The fact that drug dealers have these guns makes it hard to enforce other gun control laws. You will have about as much success stopping drug dealers from selling guns as you have in preventing them from selling drugs, and if you think that you have stopped criminals from being able to buy illegal drugs, good luck with stopping them from being able to obtain guns. 

In one shooting after another, gun control advocates like Harris keep on pushing regulations that wouldn’t stop the crimes that they are using to push the laws that they want. Take the constant call for universal background checks after mass public shootings, that is background checks on the private transfer of guns. There isn’t one attack this century that would have been stopped by such a federal law, but it hasn’t stopped gun control advocates like Harris to call for such a law immediately after each mass public shooting.


Kamala Harris’s proposed gun laws will move us towards a situation like Mexico, where the drug dealers and criminals have guns, not law-abiding Americans. The only real solution is taking the profits out of illegal drugs.

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