Anti-gun New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday at a press event in Brooklyn that “more than 4,000 jobs will be available for at-risk youth in emerging gun violence hot spots in New York City,” according to a news release from his office.
As if to underscore the possible futility of answering a spike in New York City homicides with summer jobs for young people, the New York Post reported that a 21-year-old man “was fatally shot in broad daylight Wednesday afternoon on a Brooklyn street corner — just over a mile from an event at which Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams decried surging gun violence, cops said.”
And in a somewhat related report, Politico ran a story headlined, “Health costs of gun violence exceed $1 billion a year, GOA says.”
But Second Amendment activists frequently wonder where this term “gun violence” originated, and whether it’s not simply a two-word transference of guilt from an evil perpetrator to an inanimate object. The use of the term implies a bias against firearms.
Though gun owners and rights advocates often find themselves ridiculed for making the argument that “guns don’t kill, people do,” the assertion is factually correct. Firearms are certainly used to murder people, but they don’t do that on their own.
Look at any FBI Uniform Crime Report and under the “Weapons” category there is a table showing consistently that in any given year, more people are murdered with knives or “blunt instruments” or even with bare hands and feet than are slain with either rifles (of any kind) or shotguns. Yet, there are no headlined stories decrying “knife violence” or “baseball bat violence” or even “fist violence.” But make the murder weapon a firearm and the media pounces on the opportunity to bemoan “gun violence.”
The Politico report says “GAO found gun violence accounts for about 30,000 hospital stays and about 50,000 emergency room visits annually.”
A few lines later, the same story noted, “It’s expected to fuel Democrats’ calls for expanded background checks amid a stalemate on gun control legislation.”
Yet there is nothing about criminals routinely avoiding background checks by getting guns from illicit sources, such as residential burglaries, gun shop smash-and-grabs, thefts from police cars, or from the people who actually commit those crimes. And background checks have already proven themselves to be less than effective because of crimes committed by people who passed such checks.
For example, Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger passed three California background checks when he separately bought three handguns in the months leading up to his 2014 rampage, in which he actually killed half of his victims with a knife. He also used California-legal 10-round magazines; so much for limiting magazine capacity.
Las Vegas mass killer Stephen Paddock passed background checks prior to his 2017 outrage, for which authorities still have not established a motive.
Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan legally purchased the handgun he used, so he passed a background check. And the list goes on.
The one thing Cuomo said during his press event that approaches what the gun prohibition lobby calls “common sense” was “Gun violence is a complex issue that needs a different response if we want to end it once and for all.” Motives for murder are always complex, as underscored by the trails of homicide left by serial killers Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway, neither of whom used guns to kill dozens, perhaps scores of victims.
Blaming “gun violence” seems to be a lazy cop-out to millions of law-abiding gun owners who have been demonized, along with their firearms, by the gun prohibition lobby that—again with the help of reporters and editors everywhere—disguises itself as a “gun safety” or “gun reform” movement. The anti-gun lobby is neither of those things.
So, when the talk turns to “gun violence,” maybe it’s time to challenge the media to define what that means, because it seems to encompass murder, suicide, self-defense, and justifiable homicides by law enforcement, simply to inflate the numbers. And that translates to sensational headlines, which is evidently what reporting about criminal misuse of firearms is really all about, sensationalism.