Like most grandmothers, Carolyn Pettiford thought she was done raising children. A horrible February night in 2022 changed that.
Her daughter, Ashley, was in Missouri when a man walked up, leaned into her car, and fired a gun twice. Ashley and her boyfriend were pronounced dead, and Carolyn's five-year-old grandson was alive, but shot badly in the face in the backseat.
"He's a pretty strong kid," Carolyn says. But "to have to tell a five-year-old that he'll never be able to see his mother ... it's hard."
There are 20,138 families like Carolyn's who lost someone to gun violence last year. And while everyone's stories are different, they all have one thing in common: There isn't a single gun control policy that could have prevented them.
President Joe Biden, standing near a California dance hall where 11 people were mowed down in January, claims otherwise. Last Tuesday, by executive order, he announced a series of new attacks on the Second Amendment — all under the guise that stricter gun policies will end the violence.
It's time, he said emphatically, to "do something. Do something big." The trouble is, Democrats don't seem to care if that "something" is the right thing.
Under Biden's latest congressional end-run, he aims to move America "as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation." Like most Republicans, Rep. Greg Murphy of North Carolina is outraged by the idea, since a) Biden has no constitutional authority to impose these policies, b) it's an invasion of Americans' privacy, and c) it won't do anything to prevent the bloodshed on our city streets.
"The sad thing is," Murphy told me, "this is an absolute misunderstanding of who commits crimes with guns. It's not law-abiding people, but that's who he's after."
So what purpose does this grandstanding serve? "I don't know of one," he replied. "I don't know that [there's] any need for ... the government to know who owns a gun and who does not own a gun. I'd love for them to know which criminals own guns — I could probably get behind that.
"But ... law-abiding citizens? That's not the right of the government. ... [It] has no right to intrude upon that privacy."
The order also weaponizes the DOJ to crack down on gun sellers they believe aren't policing buyers strongly enough. But gun sellers aren't the problem, the data argues. Criminals are.
Josiah O'Neil, a former deputy sheriff in California, believes there's a major flaw in the Left's thinking. "I've never met a criminal … that respected laws. By definition, criminals don't," he explained after the Uvalde, Texas, massacre.
If anything, these knee-jerk reactions — these supposed "gun control" efforts — turn innocent citizens into sitting ducks. "When places adopt stricter gun control laws, there tends to be an increase in violent crime," explained scholar John Lott.
His research at the Crime Prevention Research Center found that "every place in the world that's banned, either all guns or all handguns has seen an increase in murder." Domestically, "over 94% of the successful mass public shootings that have occurred in the United States since 1950 have taken place in areas where citizens weren't allowed to ... have guns."
Look at Chicago and Baltimore — cities with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Gun-related violence is sky-high. That's because the same criminals who break the law to shoot someone are breaking the law to get the guns to do it with.
In Kansas City, where Ashley was killed, officials say there are more than 2,000 stolen and illegal guns "floating" around the area. The man who ended her life and blinded her son used one. That's also in keeping with the Justice Department's findings from 2019.
Only 10.1% of the inmates surveyed got their guns from a retail source. The other 90% either stole their firearms, bought them from an underground store, took them from their victims, were gifted them, had someone else buy them, or bought, borrowed, traded, or rented them from friends or family. Barely 7% bought the gun in their own name.
Last month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed the trend, warning that more than a million guns were stolen from private citizens from 2017-2021. And unfortunately, thanks to the Democrats' other failed policies — defunding the police and relaxing penalties — there's a serious shortage of officers to track those illegal guns down, and fewer convictions to show for it when they do.
Until we start enforcing the laws already on the books, nothing will change. The Left can scapegoat legal gun owners and sellers all it wants, but that doesn't solve the deeper problems their agenda is creating.
As most experts agree, nothing the president has done would have stopped a single shooting we've witnessed — not Uvalde, not Monterey, not even Ashley Pettiford. This latest order isn't action; it's political theater, designed to play on people's emotions and fears.
Biden isn't "accelerat[ing]" the work "to save more lives." He's distracting Americans from the border crisis, national security threats, and the economy — and wiping his feet on the Constitution as he does it.
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council. He previously chaired the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Tony is the host of a nationally syndicated program, "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins." He is a pastor, Marine veteran, and former police officer. Read more Tony Perkins reports — Here.
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