My latest piece at the Daily Caller: "Hillary Clinton Locks Up The Gun-Grabber Vote"
On Thursday night, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence honored Hillary Clinton with the first ever Cuomo Visionary Award, named after the late New York Governor Mario Cuomo. The Brady Center gave her the award because“she has demonstrated a clear commitment in support of our efforts to ‘finish the job’” for the gun control and, “there is nobody who has done more to lead us there than Hillary Clinton.”
Clinton has surely fought for this recognition, making gun control a central issue of her 2016 presidential campaign. She has named the NRA as one of her biggest enemies. But the regulations she is pushing will disarm millions of Americans and primarily take guns away from poor blacks.
Her big focus is on enacting “universal” background checks, expanding checks to the private transfer of guns, with the vast majority of transfers occurring within families. In New York, where Hillary Clinton was being honored by the Brady Campaign, expanded background checks add about $80 to the cost of transferring a gun.
The cost imposed on gun transfers in other places have ranged from $60 in Oregon to $200 in Washington, DC. Drug gangs aren’t going to be paying these fees. It is the law-abiding good citizens who will go through these background checks who do.
For poor people, these taxes and fees represent a real increase in the cost of obtaining a gun and they make a big difference in how many people get guns.
That’s too bad. Police are extremely important in stopping crime, but they can’t be there all the time. There is little doubt that the people who are most likely to be victims of violent crime – again, overwhelmingly poor blacks in urban areas — are also the ones who benefit the most from owning guns and having the option to protect themselves. Research, including my own, has demonstrated this.
Nor is there any evidence that background checks or these universal checks reduce violent crime. Just as it is very difficult to stop drug gangs from getting illegal drugs, it has proven very difficult to stop gangs from getting access to guns. Even gun bans for whole countries have only seen murder rates rise.
Clinton also wants to end right-to-carry laws that let 13 million Americans carry concealed handguns for protection. But, again, it is poor blacks who benefit the most and the academic evidence overwhelmingly shows that these laws reduce crime, with no one arguing that they increase murder, rape or robbery rates.
If you don’t believe that these fees can make a difference, take the case of getting concealed handgun permits in Pennsylvania and Texas. Texas may have twice Pennsylvania’s adult population, but Texas still has over 20 percent fewer concealed handgun permits. It isn’t that Texans like guns less than Pennsylvanians. It just costs $140 to get a permit in Texas and only $19 in Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately, Clinton isn’t the only Democrat who wants to disarm poor blacks. In 2013, when Colorado passed a bill that would charge people a fee when they purchase a gun, Democrats voted down a Republican amendment that would have exempted people below the poverty level from paying a state tax on gun transfers.
In Maryland that same year, Democrats also refused to exempt people below the poverty level from fees for their new gun licensing proposal — a total cost coming to $300. Do Democrats seriously think that poor people are going to be able to afford these costs?
All one needs to do is look at the places in the U.S. with the strictest gun control regulations to see what happens to gun ownership by poor people. In New York City, only about three thousand people have concealed handgun permits, but if you aren’t a head of a labor union, a famous actor like Robert De Niro, a powerful media mogul like New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, or very wealthy businessmen like Donald Trump, you aren’t going to get a permit. Poor blacks, who live in Harlem, need not apply, even if they face much greater risks from crime.
Hillary Clinton and other Democrats want poor minorities’ votes, they just won’t let them be able to defend themselves. Apparently, they believe that the right to self-defense is something that only belongs to the wealthy.
John Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author of “More Guns, Less Crime.”