It’s Not About New Laws; It’s about Enforcing the Ones We Have

By Larry Keane

Mass Shooting School Gun Laws Bans
It’s Not About New Laws; It’s about Enforcing the Ones We Have

USA – -( The murders in Aurora, Illinois, reveal the inability or unwillingness of many in authority to ensure that our existing laws are working. The convicted felon who murdered five at his workplace last week should never have had a gun. We need to know why that happened so it can be fixed so it never happens again.

We already have the laws we need to stop the criminal misuse of guns. Drafting new laws, especially since nearly all proposals affect only the law-abiding, distracts us from the real solutions that are at hand. Getting these priorities backwards can and does cost lives.

We need political leaders who will assume responsibility for ensuring law enforcement agencies have the resources and authority to carry out their responsibilities. Those agencies must ensure they are doing what the law was intended to do.

Implementation is the Hard Part

That process, accomplished out of the public spotlight, is a whole lot harder than holding press conferences and passing new laws. Successful implementation of laws and continuing oversight does not make news. Lax, inadequate, misfocused or neglected enforcement does make news in the form of tragic incidents.

Since the news broke in the Illinois case, we’ve learned the murderer had been convicted for felony aggravated assault in Mississippi in 1995. One report said he’d bludgeoned and stabbed his girlfriend, which was documented in the victim’s own words in police records.

He served less than three years of a five-year prison sentence and continued to tangle with law enforcement. He was arrested six times by Aurora Police for traffic and domestic violence issues, including a 2008 arrest for violation of a protective order. Nearby Oswego police arrested him in 2017.

Despite his 1995 conviction, this felon was granted an Illinois Firearms Owner Identification Card (FOID) in 2014.

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the man’s past record “would not necessarily have shown up on a criminal background check conducted for the FOID card.” Successful applicants must not have been convicted of a felony. Disqualifications include domestic battery offenses. Just days after being issued this FOID, the murderer purchased a handgun.

Sending Out a Letter

Only when the murderer applied for a concealed carry permit did authorities ascertain his criminal past and that he was a prohibited person. They denied the permit and sent an FOID revocation letter to him, but no one acted to recover the firearm they knew he had. One report noted that Illinois State Police lacks the manpower and relies on an “honor system.”

The result of this poorly thought-out system is that the murderer took a gun he should have never owned, and the State Police knew he possessed, into his workplace. Moments after being fired, he began killing his co-workers.

Giffords Law Center rated Illinois “B+” for enacting strict gun control measures, ranking it 8th among all states for strengthening extreme risk protection orders, violence intervention programs and extended firearms purchase waiting periods. Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws on the books.

Where is the grade for the oversight to ensure that those laws work? It’s not enough to pass a law and move on.

Passing a new law is exactly what the Illinois legislature did. In a move that will do nothing to make our communities safer, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed a duplicative law to regulate firearms retailers already subject to federal regulation. Legislators are considering more new laws, including additional taxes on guns, requirements to turn over social media accounts to buy guns and bans on entire classes of firearms.

Presidential Hopefuls Want More Laws

It’s not just Illinois, of course. Democratic presidential hopefuls call for more laws. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted that America needed universal background checks, despite these very checks failing to stop the Illinois murderer.

California Sen. Kamala Harris cites the need to ban so-called “assault weapons,” despite most murders being committed with handguns. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren blames the NRA for a public health emergency she claimed could be cured by more research. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand demonizes the firearms industry for what she said is indiscriminately selling guns to criminals, terrorists, children and the mentally ill.

Don't Lie for the Other Guy
Don't Lie for the Other Guy


Sen. Gillibrand should know that it was the firearms industry that provided the model for trying to ensure that existing law works better in the form of the successful Fix NICS legislation to incentivize states to submit all disqualifying records to the FBI’s National Criminal Information Center that is searched as part of a background check to purchase a firearm. She co-sponsored and voted for this legislation before it was signed into law last year by the President. She, and these other politicians who run on gun control promises, conveniently ignore the fact that it is the firearms industry that runs programs to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. The industry works with ATF to prevent straw purchases and better secure retailers against thefts.

Our industry is integral to a national partnership to help prevent suicides with firearms, and our industry has rolled up its sleeves to be involved in implementing real solutions that work to make our communities safer. It’s time our elected officials do the same.

About NSSFNational Shooting Sports Foundation

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on here.

  • 13 thoughts on “It’s Not About New Laws; It’s about Enforcing the Ones We Have

    1. If only the anti-gunners would push for enforcement of the current laws, they wouldn’t have to spend all of that money trying to pass more B.S. gun laws that can’t be enforced.

    2. Illinois is known as one of the most restrictive states to buy a gun. Hm, I guess they don’t follow their laws when it comes to the criminals, just let them pass by and shoot a place up. New laws are a joke.

    3. Amen. Polititians are stuck in the do do cycle. They keep going the same dumb cycle. Keep making more laws we dont enforce. This only places more restrictions on the law abiding. The criminals dont care. These political idiots dont care. Only thing they have in common is lack of common sense, and they dont give a damn about us, only reelection.

    4. Politicians only understand the need to keep those, who keep voting them into office, in check through unconstitutional restrictions.

      Time for the Sheepdogs to rally in defense of the Sheeple. Enough of running from the elitest wolves who rule through entitlement and fear.

      Molan Labe!

    5. I live in Aurora IL. I have friends on the APD. We have been saying it for years. “Enforce the laws we have” recently n person was arrested and charged with 25 counts of acting as a straw purchaser and knowingly selling the guns he bought to known criminals… the result ? the federal prosecutor plead down 25 counts to 1 and offered probation! which of course was taken and the person is free on the streets. WTF! I don’t think we’ll ever get all the guns away from the bad guys because there will always be bad guys. But I think if we focus on how the bad guys get their guns (straw purchase and theft) NOT HOW THE GOOD GUYS GET THEIR GUNS and enforce the laws we have we can make a difference.

    6. The definition of insanity is, ‘Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.’ or something like that. Well the anti-gunners fit that definition to a T!

    7. Every one of these Anti-Gunners walk around surrounded by Armed guards, and yet they want to take our guns away. What makes there lives more valuable then ours? New laws do not matter, Criminals do not obey laws!

    8. I would be willing to bet the Marxist left never heard of “Shall Not Be Infringed” at the best they fail to understand it.

    Leave a Comment 13 Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *