This editorial in Florida Today breathlessly warns us that violent crime is on the upswing.
Watch your back, because Brevard County's streets are getting more dangerous.Scary stuff, indeed. What's the solution? (Re-)banning so-called "assault weapons," of course.
How bad is it?
The local crime rate spiked 9 percent during the first six months of 2007, as compared to the same period a year ago.
However, a federal anti-crime bill proposed by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., could bring timely help and deserves strong, bipartisan support.The bill referred to here is, of course, Biden's "Crime Bill", or S. 2237, which (as mentioned here) would both close the mythical "gun show loophole," and re-establish the 1994 ban on so-called "assault weapons."
It would invest $18.6 billion over six years to hire more police, FBI agents and prosecutors, buy crime-tracking technology, reduce recidivism and fight drug abuse.
It would also renew a ban on assault weapons Congress let lapse in 2004.
The International Association of Police Chiefs backs the reauthorization, including past-president andcurrent Palm Bay Police Chief William Berger.And we all know how impartial the IACP is about private gun ownership.
In fact, it seems that everyone supports re-implementing the ban (the one that the Violence Policy Center's own Tom Diaz described as not making "one whit of difference").
"It's turning into an arms race out there," says Berger.Well, almost everyone.
He echoes the words of Miami Police Chief John Timoney, who armed his officers with more firepower in September after one officer was slain and three others wounded by an assailant with an AK-47.
Timoney also supports a renewed ban on assault weapons. So does the National Association of Police Organizations, which lobbies in Washington for the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association, representing some 1,100 officers in Brevard.
State Attorney Norm Wolfinger says an assault weapons ban isn't a silver bullet, but state agencies crippled by budget cuts need all the help they can gather.
We agree, and it's why we're deeply troubled by Sheriff Jack Parker's opposition to the renewed ban, which he claims wouldn't be effective and could erode citizens' right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.Ooh--that's the problem, Sheriff--they just don't like hearing about the Second Amendment.
But 63 police officers nationwide have been fatally shot this year, up more than 37 percent from the same period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C.And I suppose that any officer killed with an "assault weapon" will be touted as "proof" that such a ban would have saved lives.
If an assault weapons ban saves the life of just one officer next year, it's worth it.
Too many elected officials like Parker -- who faces reelection next year -- cower before the National Rifle Association and refuse to support sensible laws for stricter gun control, even when it means a potential death sentence to cops on the street.Hmm--before an upcoming election, he makes a strong, unambiguous stand on an important issue--doesn't sound like "cowering" to me, unless he is "cowering" to the will of his constituents. Kind of what one would hope for in an elected official, isn't it?
I have to wonder if the writers of that editorial have a lot of room to talk about "cowering."