December 28, 2012
After Adam Lanza took four guns that belonged to his mother and used them to murder her and dozens of other people, we witnessed an entirely predictable – and repellently opportunistic –escalation of the war on individual gun ownership.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested that gun confiscation might be an option. Some figures – including former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and British celebrity nitwit Piers Morgan – have demanded the abolition of the Second Amendment.
All of this assumes that firearms, while impermissibly dangerous in civilian hands, are somehow transformed into implements of justice and public safety when they are in the hands of the police. Leaving aside the fact that police routinely use firearms to commit crimes against innocent people, it shouldn’t be forgotten that they also lose control of their weapons, just as Adam Lanza’s mother did.
Earlier today in Clementon, New Jersey, a man who had been arrested on domestic violence charges grabbed a gun in the police station and shot three officers before being killed. Yesterday, the District Attorney for Dane County, Wisconsin announced that Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness will not be prosecuted for fatally shooting an unarmed 30-year-old man named Paul Heenan last November 9. Heenan, who had just moved into the neighborhood, entered the wrong home, prompting the residents to report a burglary. When the police arrived, Heenan “struggled” with them, at one point reaching in the direction of Officer Heimsness’s gun. This created what the DA calls a “deadly force situation,” because the officer was afraid he might lose control of the firearm.
Don’t those two incidents illustrate that guns — rather than being a source of protection — are a potentially fatal liability to police officers? Citizen disarmament advocates insist that crimes like that committed by Adam Lanza demonstrate the supposed need to confiscate guns from everybody but the police in the name of “public safety.” Wouldn’t the same logic, such as it is, dictate that firearms be taken away from the police in the name of “officer safety”?