There’s long been a prejudice against small, inexpensive handguns often called “Saturday Night Specials.” This cheap guns aren’t generally bought by members of the NRA or other gun rights groups either, so they make wonderful targets of opportunity.
That’s just what an Illinois Democrat seems to be thinking with a bill he apparently intends to introduce. From The Hill:
Although Washington’s gun-control debate has focused largely on more imposing weapons, like military-style assault rifles, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is going after the handguns that are used much more frequently by violent criminals, particularly in urban settings like his hometown, where shootings are a daily plague.
“I am concerned about the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But I am also concerned by the ‘slow-moving massacre’ that is occurring every day with handguns,” Gutierrez, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said Monday in Chicago while announcing his bill.
Gutierrez is quick to note that lower-profile shootings claim many more lives each year than the mass killings that generate broad media attention and that handguns — not assault rifles — are most often used in those murders. In 2011, for instance, 97 percent of Chicago’s 362 gun murders involved handguns. Not one of them spurred a congressional hearing.
For what it’s worth, Gutierrez is right about how a handgun is far more likely to be used in a murder than an assault weapon. However, he’s missing out on a lot of important information about guns used in crimes, and about who purchases these so-called “Saturday Night Specials.”
There’s a common misconception that these guns are purchased with the intent to be used in crimes. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. You see, criminals tend to purchase their weapons illegally in the first place. A favorite is the Glock semi-automatic handgun that gets a lot of attention in rap music, but is also a favorite of police and law abiding citizens alike. The truth is, most of the criminals don’t want these cheap guns. They want something that can get them some style points as well.
Instead, these cheap weapons are purchased by the poorest folks who can scrape together a little extra cash to buy a handgun. These are the folks who live in the worst crime-ridden neighborhoods, the kinds of places where most folks lock their car doors while just passing through.
Gutierrez, whether he intends to or not, isn’t actually hurting the criminals. No, instead he’s hurting those who are far more likely to be that criminal’s target. He is seeking to disarm the most vulnerable people in our communities, and doing it while trying to cloak himself in righteousness.
Of course, gun control advocates haven’t really been known for using logic in the first place. They’d much rather speak platitudes, perform grand gestures, then blame someone else when it doesn’t work…despite the fact that gun rights advocates told them it wouldn’t.