Sometimes it feels like we’re a broken record over here. Just last month we penned a piece on what criteria we generally use to evaluate new legislation, and on our Regulation page we have this:

We favor enforcement of existing regulations over the creation of new regulatory schemes.
We believe that additional regulation is too often political window dressing and does not serve to resolve the ills for which it is claimed as a cure. This includes the so-called Assault Weapons Ban, as well as proposed restrictions on magazine capacity.

One of the first things that usually comes up is, “Well, obviously we need to do that, but we should also do ____________!! For the CHILDREN!” Well, we’re given yet another study today from our friends over at UC Davis that highlights another issue where the enforcement of existing laws is something that about everyone agrees is a bad idea, where violent felons and domestic abusers, who are legally prohibited from owning guns, still have them. How big of an issue is this?

Well, in the state of California, where we have a whole host of laws and regulations (and a lot of really bad ones, yes) about guns, there are still an estimated 19,000 people who own guns that shouldn’t. That we KNOW about.  Think about that for just a minute. We know they shouldn’t own guns, but they do. California also has a task force specifically to go and remove guns from these folks, and has had for years. But we still have 19,000 people in the state that haven’t been caught up to yet. Extrapolating the data to the entire US (which is a bit dicey, but let’s call it somewhat accurate), that puts the number across the US at around 98,000.

We can and should have a conversation about restoring felons rights, including the right to vote and the 2nd. There’s certainly an argument to be made that once you’ve fulfilled your sentence, you should then be a real citizen again after you complete everything (including probation where applicable). But we’re talking about the way it is today.

And it matters. From the study:

“Studying the transition from legal gun owner to prohibited owner status is a particularly important moment because the risk for subsequent violence is likely to be highest immediately after an event that prohibits a gun owner from legally owning a firearm. In California, for example, 5% to 10% of gun purchasers aged 21 to 49 years with arrest histories experience felony or violence misdemeanor convictions within five years of the purchase.”

One of the other things we’ve advocated for in the past, and still do, is fixing our NICS system- garbage in, garbage out. There’s still a ton of data missing from various states, people who lie and claim to not be prohibited people are almost never prosecuted. Straw purchasers are almost never prosecuted.

Why does this matter? We know there is an issue. We know that this is the low hanging fruit. Instead of working to fix these issues, we get new stuff proposed that will never be enforced, even if it passes and manages to not get overturned in the courts. This study is just more fuel to the fire that we’ve been right on this issue for years.

You want to really “do something”? How about getting enforcement figured out first. It’s gonna take awhile.

After we’ve finished up with all that, maybe then we can look at some solutions that actually work.