New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo politicized his aide’s funeral by using it as a platform to advocate for more gun control.
Carey Gabay, a lawyer for the Cuomo administration, was accidentally shot in the crossfire of a shootout between two gangs.
“The violence has become so brutal, so aimless, that the most innocent can be struck down anytime, anywhere,” Cuomo said in his eulogy. “Maybe there’s nothing you can do about it. If only that were true — it’s not.”
The Democratic governor claimed that New York’s gun control measures cannnot be successful at reducing gun violence when other states have lax gun laws.
“It’s not enough for New York State to pass a gun law and close the front door when the guns are coming in the back door, when the guns can come up from Virginia or South Carolina for anyone willing to take a car ride,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo went on to criticize politicians for not implementing more gun control, accusing them of being too afraid to lose votes.
“Our people should have the same resolve and threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get a real gun control law,” Cuomo said.
But Cuomo’s claim that New York’s strict gun control laws are undermined by states with who don’t have harsh gun control is a cop-out argument. In fact, 93% of all guns used in crimes are illegally obtained. The gun that was used to shoot Gabay was a MAC-10, a sub-machine gun that is already illegal under federal law.
New York already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. The SAFE Act, which banned AR-15s and high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks,and implemented gun registration, has resulted in many gun manufacturers leaving New York and overnight turned nearly 1,200 gun owners into felons. And yet there has been an increase in crime in the state.
Evidence clearly shows that gun control does not reduce gun crime; in fact, many studies have found it actually increases crime. Washington, D.C. provides a good case study on the effects of gun control. In 1976, D.C. implemented a law that banned citizens from owning guns, as only police officers were allowed to carry firearms. Those who already owned guns were allowed to keep them only if they were disassembled or trigger-locked. Trigger locks could only be removed if the owner received permission from the D.C. police, which was rare.
According to prosecutor Jeffrey Shapiro, the results were not good. Annual homicides rose from 188 in 1976 to 364 in 1988, and then increased even further to 454 in 1993. The gun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, and homicides have steadily declined since then to 88 yearly murders in 2012. While Shapiro admits that there were other factors involved with the decline in homicides, lifting the gun ban clearly did not result in a rise in murders.
The results in D.C. are part of a broader trend, as economist Thomas Sowell points out:
The rate of gun ownership is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks. For the country as a whole, hand-gun ownership doubled in the late 20th century, while the murder rate went down.
The few counter-examples offered by gun-control zealots do not stand up under scrutiny. Perhaps their strongest talking point is that Britain has stronger gun-control laws than the United States and lower murder rates.
But, if you look back through history, you will find that Britain has had a lower murder rate than the United States for more than two centuries — and, for most of that time, the British had no more stringent gun-control laws than the United States. Indeed, neither country had stringent gun control for most of that time.
You could compare other sets of countries and get similar results. Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.
As Sowell writes, the problem is the people, not the gun. Most violent crimes are committed by gangs. The reason for Gabay’s death was not the gun itself, it was the fact that gangs were warring with each other. If Cuomo would spend more time focusing on reducing gang violence instead of disarming law-abiding citizens, he could significantly reduce crime in his state.