Keelan: In regards to guns, we must address the criminal, not the gun

By Don Keelan

When it comes to guns in America, one often hears the phrase ‘gun control.’ Such a phase should be discontinued; it is meaningless.

Today in the United States, 400 million guns are in private possession. A Wall Street Journal article in early June noted that the number of assault rifles (AR-15s and such) acquired since 1994 has increased from 400,000 to 20 million. This is since the ban on such weapons expired in 2004.

Don Keelan

Two critical factors to consider when addressing guns: there is no appetite among most Americans to change the Second Amendment, nor do they want to remove guns now in possession of law-abiding citizens. So, what do we do?

The first step is to stop using the phrases ‘gun’ control or ‘gun’ reform. The weapon is not the issue. It is the person who takes this instrument and decides to use it for harm to oneself and others.

In the past 10 years, many shootings throughout America have been carried out by individuals prohibited from ever possessing a gun.

The second step is for politicians to stop the charade of addressing the gun matter only when there is a horrible mass shooting at a school, house of worship, or shopping mall. In weeks, we will return to where we have been for the past 50 years because the recent tragedies will no longer be the center of our elected representatives’ interests.

The recent decisions in Washington to address gun safety may make many feel like they have accomplished something by assisting states with red-flag laws (temporarily stripping guns from folks who might harm themselves or others), prohibiting large-capacity ammunition magazines, establishing standards for safe gun storage in one’s home, funding for mental illness, and waiting longer to purchase a gun.

Gun violence is not just ‘someplace else,’ but in Vermont. The morning I wrote this column, the daily media reported shootings in Burlington, Bennington, Waterbury, and Watertown. I will wager that the shooters should not have possessed a firearm. So, how did they have a gun?

Before I go too far into opining, I am the first to yield to the experts. I bring little expertise to the complex issue of guns. What I bring is a degree of common sense.

If a criminal commits yet another crime and possesses a gun, why not remove the criminal from society for five years in addition to the underlying criminal charge? If a second offense, DAs and judges have no choice; it is a mandatory 10-year prison sentence for gun possession or use.

What if one does not have a criminal record but does commit a crime with a gun? They, as well, should face a mandatory five years in prison. These suggested mandates are not new. There are laws on the books, but they are not enforced by progressive/reformist district attorneys and judges.

In many jurisdictions, the law-abiding citizen who wishes to own a gun must wait six months to be permitted. This time frame accomplishes two critical objectives: one to give research time for the gun applicant, and two to provide a time separation if needed.

As long as the public perceives that the criminal will receive leniency, then expect the law-abiding citizen to acquire a gun.

Look forward to a tsunami of gun purchases if the recent statement in VTDigger by a legal fellow from the Vermont ACLU gains traction: “there is little evidence that police keep us safer.”

Last month, Congress passed, and the President signed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law. It will have a minimum impact until our elected leaders realize we must address the criminal, not the gun. If you use a firearm or provide the weapon for any unlawful purpose, you should be removed from society for a long time.

Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington, Vermont.

Image courtesy of St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

18 thoughts on “Keelan: In regards to guns, we must address the criminal, not the gun

  1. good quote from WSJ Op-Ed tonite:

    “Cities across the U.S. slashed police funding in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, and demoralized cops have quit or retired without ready replacements. Progressive prosecutors such as Cook County’s Kim Foxx and Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner have been lenient with criminals. Lawbreakers now often act with impunity—and more law-abiding citizens are seeking guns to protect themselves because they believe the state can’t or won’t.

    The United States is dealing with a societal disorder that can’t be cured with gun control. Mitigating the damage will likely take years, but politicians can help by returning to the anti-crime policies that worked so well in the 1990s and 2000s.”

  2. You are correct, Sir, that “gun control” is an outmoded phrase…it has been replaced by Second Amendment opponents by the more politically palatable and deceptive “common sense gun safety measures”. Thank you for reminding people that incarceration of a miscreant actually does prevent that person from committing further offenses, at least out in public. Steel and concrete enclosures are very effective at containing evil. Another point to be made is that the recidivism rate of criminal perpetrators who were made to be deceased in a legally-justified act of self-defense is ZERO PERCENT. If the individuals who represent the ACLU and the VTDigger do not believe that police make us safer, I wonder who they call when they hear breaking glass at 2am, their favorite social worker? Most of us with some level of genuine common sense realize that having police is an inherently positive element of society, that they cannot be everywhere at all times and that when seconds count, they may be minutes away. The Second Amendment provides the option of a backup plan.

  3. In Chicago, the holday weekend is not over yet. 54 shot and 7 dead, and I am sure majority of them are Blacks, shooting other Blacks. When will Liberals realze that to truly protect ALL Black Lives…some freedoms – for the greater good of a safer society… will have to be given up. Chicago needs a “Stop & Frisk” rule…immediately – to save the innocent Black Lives:

    “At least 54 people were shot, seven of them fatally, Friday into Monday in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s (D) Chicago…. 31 people were shot Friday into Sunday morning in Chicago. Four of those 31 shooting victims succumbed to their wounds. Chicago Sun-Times reports the number of shooting victims was at least 54 by Monday morning, with three more shooting fatalities.”

    • Jerrrey, I thought the left was with ” Black Lives Matter ” apparently it’s just a
      slogan to them, hypocrites and fools. The daily blood letting in cities like Chicago,
      is just a headline for promoting a slogan BLM, and these white liberals protesting
      for there white skin guilt trip, and they think they are helping………………Fools !!

  4. Mr. Keelan’s makes excellent points about addressing the criminals and not the guns. However, IMO, the very first step that should be taken is for the federal prosecutors/district attorneys/judges/et al to actually do their job and prosecute EVERY criminal in violation of currently existing federal firearms laws. If that was done efficiently, the repetition of phrases like “gun control” or “gun reform” would be heard less frequently.

    • Well, the FIRST thing to do is put back into place the ability of the police to be able to ‘Stop and Frisk” . Police have a pretty good idea of who the criminals are.. Right now, police are handicapped from “frisking” who they think is armed and a likelty perpetrator. Guliani VERY suucessfully put in place Stop and Frisk when he became Mayor of NYC…and liberal David Dinkins nearly destroyed NYC before him… budget and massive crime waves. BUT IT WORKED!. Tough actions to enforce the law saw violent NYC crime PLUMMET. But when Liberals took over NYC again, they halted stop and frisk…and criminals then felt 100% safe to walk freely, drive freely, in NYC….armed and dangerous. Of course the ISSUE was…stop and frisk….The vast majority of those “frisked” and FOUND carrying weapons…were Black. So it was deemed racist. So in the end, you returned to massive, violent GUN crime in places like NYC and Chicago….Isn’t That racist?… to stand by & IGNORE…and see thousands of wounded or dead over the years…. it’s almost ALL Blacks – shooting other Blacks ? WHY don’t the innocent bystander “Black Lives Matter”? To liberals, they do not. Drastic action – and perhaps unfair profiling on some…are needed – but WILL curb gun crimes. murder & mayhem.

  5. 18 U.S.C. S.922(g) – possession of a firearm or ammunition by a felon, fugitive or drug user – 10 yrs.

    18 U.S.C. S.922(j) – possession of a stolen firearm – 10 yrs.

    18 U.S.C. S.922(I) – shipping, transporting or receipt of a firearm across state lines with intent to commit a felony – 10 yrs.

    18 U.S.C. S.924(a)(1)(A) -carrying, using or possessing a firearm in connection with a federal crime of violence or drug trafficking – 5 to 30 yrs. consecutive mandatory minimum sentences

    18 U.S.C. S.924(j) – for committing murder while possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence or drug trafficking – Death or up to life imprisonment

    18 U.S.C. S.924(e) for a “prohibited person” who has three prior convictions for drug offenses or violent felonies – 15 years mandatory minimum

    18 U.S.C. S.924(g) – for interstate travel to acquire or transfer a firearm to commit crimes – 10 yrs.

  6. This is one of the first articles presented with common sense. Many of us have repeatedly stated that criminals do not obey laws. But politicians pass laws to restrict people who never would think of using their guns to kill unless they were defending themselves or their loved ones, this is stupid. To justify a semblance of worthiness, politicians act to do something and always target the people who are not the problem. Hidden in the gun control activists OP is an ideology to disarm Americans. The left knows that they cannot control an armed population and they are not concerned with gun crimes because they use criminal gun crimes to disarm the law-abiding gun owner. The media is their promoter and those who report on gun anything are the least knowledgeable about guns.

    The recent SC decision rejecting NY’s gun laws went much farther than the issue of permits. One week after the NY decision they also struck down large capacity magazine laws based on community safety laws. Vermont has a similar law with is now unconstitutional as affirmed by the Vermnt supreme Court which used the community safety standard as their reasoning. That reasoning does not pass the historical recoed od the second amendment. The community safety standard was thrown out. Magazines in common use are constitutional and are the equivalent of items in common use. There is no historical precedence to ban standard size magazines.

    My question is, where is the protection of law-abiding people from the infringement of their rights to keep and near the weapons in common use throughout the United States. It is settled law now that the 2nd Amendment is not a second class right and will be recognized as equal to the other rights in the Bill of Rights.

    Whe will Vermont repeal this unconstitutional law? If they don’t, it needs to be nulified.

    • I commented on this article when really tired, sorry for the misspelled words. No edit available.

      • You need not apologize for a misspelled word my man because your heart & head are in the right place.

    • The law regarding magazines does not need to be repealed or nullified, it needs to be disobeyed.

      Unconstitutional Official Acts
      16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256:
      The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The US. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be In agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
      The General rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose, since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted. Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it.… A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the lend, it is superseded thereby. No one Is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it. The Supreme Court’s decision is as follows; “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it has never been passed”. Norton vs Shelby County 1886 – 118 US 425 p.442.

      Alexander Hamilton explains unconstitutional law in Federalist No.76; “No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; those men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid”.

    • Correct,however those circuits have not yet reheard the cases and ruled on them, that said when they do based on the decision method now required they will be found un Constitutional. Vermonts and the nations magazine bans are going to be overturned as well as any semi auto bans, the second amendment says what it means “Shall Not Be Infringed” after Bruen.

  7. You nailed it, the left refuses to see the truth in what you say, of course they do because of what C Henry replied, is also truth.

    It also would appear as if Ole Benedict Scott saddled the wrong jack @zz,because of the Bruen decision all magazine and semi auto bans are going to be found repugnant to the constitution,nation wide as regardless what the black robed toadies of Vermont it is also repugnant to article 16 as well and always was.

  8. So why are liberals against owning firearms, the same reason Japan’s admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
    stated : “You cannot invade mainland United States, as there would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” and liberal DemocRATs understand that there plans ” NWO to take over will fail, as long as law-abiding citizens have firearms………. it’s all bout being in power !!

    They only have talking points, to push there agenda, as we have seen they never accuse anyone
    of the ” perpetrators ” of these horrendous shootings, nah, it always the gun an inanimate object, you talk about inept fools, but then again they are liberals and they have an agenda.

    You can pass all the frivolous gun laws, they’ll make know difference as criminals & crazies they
    will never follow them, but here is whats on the books today, all you need to do is enforce it

    18 USC § 922(g). Punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Pursuant to 18 USC § 924(e), may receive minimum sentence of 15years without parole if offender has 3 or more prior convictions for
    a felony crime of violence (e.g., burglary, arson, extortion, assault) and/ordrug trafficking felony.

    For all Liberals, I know that your minds a blocked with liberal nonsense, so l hope this helps you
    understand , a ” perpetrator ” a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act !!

  9. Spot on. How many times have we seen a situation where a car or SUV drives into a crowd, or sidewalk…and kills, or injures, many people. I don’t care whether it was intentional, or an accident….just that a vehilce swerved off the road and then ran into people. Ask then, who is legally charged in this incident and brough to court:

    1. The actual car or SUV that hit/killed people…..or
    2. The driver of the car or SUV.

    The answer is #2,,,,Unless you are a Liberal Democrat & have only limited thought – and “Liberal Logik”.

    It’s the same with guns. The gun did not pull the trigger…a person did! The car driving into a crowd didn’t kill them, the driver did. What is it lberals cannot understand? Screaming for…and even getting…more gun control…will never stop gun crime …there ARE over 400 million guns already in USA. Address, arrest & stop the the person behind the trigger. Restricting or banning guns will do nothing…but it makes Liberals “FEEL” better? Actually? I think more armed citizens in NYC or Chicago could prevent many shootings! Bringing back the Police ability to “stop and frisk” obvious suspects. Guliani did it in NYC and violent crime PLUMMETTED while he was Mayor. But now that is gone – and criminals, gangs & thugs have NO WORRY walking or driving all over any city…armed for war….robbing, stealing or shooting, as they wish. And if caught – they get out on “no cash” bail…to do it all over again ASAP!

    • It’s not that they don’t understand, they understand fully. They don’t care about crime or criminals, or they would enforce the laws on the books and punish the criminals. This is about the disarming of the American citizens of any weapon that is a threat to their power. Once they have a disarmed the citizenry, they will crack down on everyone, criminals included. They want any weapon that puts the citizens on an equal footing with the police state they are trying to create. They know that no war was ever won without the common foot soldier and his rifle. They do not want to happen to them what happened to the British when they tried to disarm us
      3% of 400 million guns is quite an army.

      • This time you nailed it, James. Liberals play the long game incrementally using each criminal shooting to strip more 2nd amendment freedoms from those who are not the problem, law abiding gun owners. Notice I said criminal shootings because it’s already illegal to kill people wantonly. If those laws do not stop criminals, why would other laws? Liberals know that people who obey the law will not risk being arrested as a felon. They also know that criminals are criminals and do not obey liberal gun laws but here’s the kicker, they don’t care. Each criminal shooting that meets their narrative is more ammunition for them to pander to those who listen to their nonsense which enables the liberals to pass more laws that do nothing to criminals but are effective in denying the 2nd amendment rights of the people. New York just spit in the face of the Supreme Court and the corrupt state administration believes they are above decisions handed down by conservative justices. I do not think this will go well for NY and other states that try the same end run around the court. All of those politicians who take an oath to defend the constitution and violate the peoples trust should fact the penalties of perjury from lying to their oath and removed from office with a brief vacation behind bars. The constitution is the supreme law of the land.

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