Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

We don’t need more gun control laws

- By Armstrong Williams

For the duration of his 2020 presidenti­al campaign — which at first appeared to be a longshot, especially given the far left’s vocal disdain for “old, White men” — Joe Biden ran on the promise that he would unite the country. He repeatedly spoke about the importance of America’s institutio­ns and norms, and to the many who ultimately voted for him, those were the halcyon days of this country that they longed for and that Biden promised them. Unfortunat­ely, it seems that more and more of his supporters are still patiently waiting for him to make good on his campaign promise.

It was, without a doubt, a noble promise. Even if you didn’t agree with Biden or support his policies, Americans of all stripes would agree that a call for national unity amid years of division and political strife is necessary at this point. However, despite his lofty goals and plans, Biden has, unsurprisi­ngly, returned to Washington as a creature of habit. As a result, instead of uniting the country, Biden is about to divide it even further and in a deeply profound, potentiall­y irreparabl­e way.

In a recent statement from the White House in which he commemorat­ed those who

were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Biden called for significan­t gun legislatio­n.

In his statement, Biden declared that “this administra­tion will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communitie­s safer. Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsens­e gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminatin­g immunity for gun manufactur­ers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”

With a step that will undoubtedl­y cause millions of Americans to resist Biden and his agenda even more aggressive­ly, the new president has effectivel­y put a nail in his own coffin. He’s lost any remaining benefit of the doubt that conservati­ves and Republican­s were willing to give him based on his repeated calls for national unity.

Throughout his remarks, Biden mentioned the word violence five times, but not once did he attempt to identify or speculate on the root of the violence within America, nor did he offer any tangible solutions. Instead, he immediatel­y pivoted to banning certain magazines and weapons while blatantly ignoring the fact that millions of Americans own AR-15s, the semi-automatic weapon that Biden is going after.

Keep in mind that most of America’s gun owners are decent and law-abiding citizens who pose absolutely no threat to their peers, regardless of what type of weapon they own. By moving down this path, Biden is essentiall­y asking us to ignore the real root of the problems that result in mass shootings, all the while punishing gun owners who don’t break the law or commit crimes. There is a small, disgusting fraction of people who commit heinous acts, and yet the millions of law-abiding citizens are being targeted. Let’s also not forget that thousands of young men have been killed in urban cities across the country using pistols. Yet, we’re not talking about a ban on pistols. Instead, we argue that those young men need better resources, education, mentorship and other pathways that will help elevate them from poverty.

There are very serious issues when anyone harms another person for no reason other than to cause mass destructio­n, and there is not a single gun owner who would support such acts. In fact, many condemn these acts because they give the majority a bad rap. If Biden really wanted to address the issues he mentioned in his White House statement, he would focus on mental health, particular­ly the mental health of America’s youth. He would focus on building stronger families so that families know what to look for if their child is going through depression or other mental illness. He would focus on making sure urban cities have better education and trade centers; he would focus on working with the private sector to create job opportunit­ies and to improve access to transporta­tion and housing in those areas. These things would have a profound impact on urban communitie­s and would help end gun violence. On the other hand, I can assure you that banning AR15s will not.

Biden’s priorities are misplaced, and the steps he’s preparing to take will only cause further division in a nation that’s already struggling to hang on by a thread. He should focus on the root of the problems, because that is how we can solve them. Banning certain guns won’t make a difference, because the underlying problems will persist. These are problems that are so pervasive that focusing on guns instead of realistic solutions is seemingly the only political answer to complex problems.

Democrats such as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas are proposing farreachin­g bills to make it more difficult to purchase firearms. In addition to extending the waiting period, Lee’s bill would create a national registry of all firearm owners and require various new licenses specific to certain types of weapons. It would also ban certain types of ammunition. This is funny coming from Lee because from what I hear, she herself enjoys going to the range; but we’ll save that for a future column.

However, there are states that are pushing back, such as Indiana, which recently eliminated the requiremen­t to have a license to carry a handgun — certainly a victory for Second Amendment supporters, but also a sign that many states will begin to take things into their own hands in preparatio­n for what’s to come from the Biden White House.

If Joe Biden is serious about healing America and bringing this nation together, this isn’t the way to do it. Instead, focusing on mental illness, the importance of family structure, education, trade schools, economic opportunit­ies and better housing is what will help our inner cities. When people are mentally and spirituall­y sound and are comfortabl­e in life with a good job, fair pay and a great home, violence will inevitably go down without infringing on the rights of other American citizens.

Armstrong Williams is a syndicated columnist.

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