Enhance Public Safety: Disarm the Police!

Speaking with the unearned confidence of an ideologue whose convictions are impervious to logic, Iowa state legislator Dan Muhbauer told the Carroll Daily Times that private ownership of semi-automatic firearms should be banned, and that the police should seize firearms from citizens who refuse to turn them in.

“Even if you have them, I think we need to start taking them,” Muhlbauer said. “We can’t have those out there. Because if they’re out there they’re just going to get circulated around to the wrong people. Those guns should not be in the public’s hands. There are just too many guns.”

Obviously, the proscription Muhbauer envisions wouldn’t apply to the police, who of necessity would require access to heavy weaponry in order to disarm the public. He also subscribes to the assumption that firearms are perfectly safe when they are in the hands of the police, because they wouldn’t be “circulated around to the wrong people.” His is a remarkably pure variety of ignorance.

On January 7, burglars stole three guns – two AR-15 rifles and a shotgun – from police vehicles in Kansas City, Missouri. Within a few hours, the weapons were used in a crime. Displaying all of the competence and institutional composure we’ve come to expect from people in their profession, the police – who had no suspects and didn’t know where to look for them — issued a plea for the public’s help to find the missing guns, along with a $1,000 reward (which grew to $6,000 after the ATF joined the investigation).

“Just because you hold a badge and uphold the law doesn’t mean you’re immune to being a victim of crime,” whimpered KCPD Sgt. Rod Gentry, who should circulate a memo explaining that fact to State Re. Muhbauer and others of his political persuasion.

A few days before the thefts in Kansas City, Cayce, South Carolina, Police Chief Charles McNair discovered that someone broke into his car and stole a .40-caliber Glock handgun, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a bulletproof vest. Last December, a handgun stolen from a police detective was used in a holdup in Ayden, North Carolina. The stolen gun belonged to Detective Johnnie Craft, whose son Jason is suspected of stealing it, along with a police assault rifle.

Like their comrades in Kansas City, police in Antioch, California have enlisted the public’s help in locating guns that were stolen from the home of a police officer last December. The Weldon, North Carolina Police Department issued as similar plea after nearly $7,000 in guns and ammunition were stolen from the Basic Law Enforcement Training Complex at Halifax Community College last July.

Police in Tempe, Arizona have asked local residents to help locate an AR-15 rifle that was stolen from a police vehicle last December 31. The LAPD has a much larger version of the same problem: Last October, burglars stole a cache of weapons, including 21 submachine guns, from a locker at a facility used to train the department’s SWAT team. Although the guns had been altered to fire blanks, they could easily be re-modified to fire live ammunition. After the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the LAPD conducted a gun “buy-back”; perhaps they were hoping to recover some of the weapons that had been “circulated around to the wrong people” as a result of their culpable ineptitude.

The arrogance and irresponsibility displayed by law enforcement personnel in those cases – and thousands just like them – demonstrate beyond serious dispute that public safety would be enhanced if we were to disarm the police. Armed members of the productive class are busy earning the wealth plundered to pay the police; we shouldn’t be expected to track down the guns they allow to fall into the hands of private sector criminals.


1:50 am on January 9, 2013