Are guns really the problem?


The White House is launching a new assault to bring down the crime rate. As you’ve likely heard, crime, especially homicide, has exploded in many major hotspot cities over the last year or so. President Joe Biden says he knows what to do, he’s been at this for years and he’s got a plan ready to launch that includes several definitive steps.

“The first of those that work is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes,” Biden told a group of reporters as he was about to go into a closed-door meeting with visiting police chiefs and city officials. “It includes cracking down and holding rogue gun dealers accountable for violating federal law.”

The new plan includes five new federal strike forces, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), which will embed with local police departments in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Their mission is to disrupt gun trafficking coming into those major cities.

The president says he wants to “supercharge” the crime fighting effort, so he’s also urging communities to invest some of their portion of the $350 billion COVID-19 relief fund in policing and to establish more support programs, such as summer jobs for young people.

I wonder if during that closed-door White House meeting anyone broached the subject of the criminals holding those illegal guns the president wants rounded up.

The cold hard fact is this: There are some 470 million guns in civilian hands in the United States right now, with new ones — including untraceable, homemade ghost guns — being manufactured every day. Legal, registered gun sales are at record highs. If by some stretch of the imagination we could magically do away with all the guns belonging to criminals, what do you think might happen? Do you believe hardcore lawbreakers would simply shrug, walk away from their criminal life and go get a nine-to-five job? No. They would find other weapons with which to inflict their terror on innocent citizens. Knives, Molotov cocktails, scissors, an ax perhaps. Criminals aren’t just violent; they are deviously creative.

I read a quote recently from a police officer in the Bronx, where gangs are currently involved in a spate of revenge killings, which said, “Everybody is walking around with a gun because they are more afraid of getting shot than getting arrested.”

Wow. What does that say about the in-vogue idea that police should refrain from ever stopping, questioning and maybe frisking a suspected criminal? Removing that tactic from officers is obviously self-defeating if we really want to stem the murder rate.

It’s the gang members who fuel much of this nation’s violent crime problem. It seems a smart endeavor for the feds and local law enforcement to supercharge an all-out assault on them, instead of the nearly futile attempt to stop the flow of millions and millions and millions of guns.

Please don’t make me fall back on that old saying, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” But it does apply. It’s not the number of available guns that matters; it’s who holds them. Countless firearms are in the hands of responsible, law abiding, constitutionally protected Americans. They remain safely locked up, away from the criminal element.

Back in April, in a forerunner to the new White House plan, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against a Gary, Indiana, gun shop it believes responsible for the flow of hundreds, maybe thousands of guns into the Windy City. The suit revealed that, for years, Westforth Sports has been repeatedly cited by the feds (the same Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives crew now comprising the president’s five strike forces) for illegally selling guns to convicted felons and others. And the feds couldn’t shut down that gun shop? Let’s hope the new five-city strike force effort will be more efficient.

I keep coming back to the idea that concentrating on rounding up the worst of the worst gangbangers would be much more efficient. By anybody’s count there are far fewer violent gang members operating in this country than there are guns. Would this get rid of all gun crime? No, but it would make a heck of a dent in it.

Take care of the demand problem and the supply side will surely slow.

To find out more about Diane Dimond, visit her website at Her latest book, “Thinking Outside the Crime and Justice Box,” is available on