Police Chiefs Say Existing Gun Laws Must Be Enforced

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNS) - According to a recent survey of police chiefs and sheriffs across the country, the majority said they do not believe "gun shows" are a major source for sales of illegal firearms to criminals. Instead the police officers said the simple enforcement of current gun laws will reduce crime.

"There are some 20,000 gun control laws on the books; adding another one or adding another hundred won't change it," Mort Feldman, Executive Vice President of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, told CNSNews.com. "What will change it is strict enforcement."

The survey questions were conducted among 16,000 Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs across the United States. The National Association of Chiefs of Police conducted the survey for the 12th consecutive year.

An array of questions regarding gun control laws and their effectiveness netted some unconventional results from a cross section of police officers in America. Ninety-three percent responded that law-abiding citizens should be able to purchase a firearm for sport or self-defense, while 66 percent feel citizens should not be limited to a one gun per month purchase.

"Police in law enforcement understand the facts," said Aaron Zelman, President of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. "They know restrictive, prohibition type laws only breeds more crime."

Officers also relayed their firm belief that gun control laws do not stop criminals from obtaining firearms. Ninety-eight percent of the respondents claim criminals currently are able to obtain virtually any type of firearm by illegal means, while 56 percent do not think "gun shows" provide a legitimate way for criminals to get their guns.

"While gun shows are a source, they're not a major source," said Feldman. "Most of the people who are being targeted, the youngsters who get illegal firearms, do not get them at gun shows."

Feldman told CNSnews.com, "We believe it's not the implement, it's the individual that uses it."

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), a gun-control advocacy group located in Washington D.C., disagreed with Feldman's assertion that police officers are more interested in crime control rather than gun control.

"We don't think people should be absolved of their responsibility," said Desmond Riley, press spokesman for the CSGV. "We think the easy accessibility of firearms contribute to the high firearm death rate in our country."

According to the poll a resounding number of officers, however, believe enforcement of the laws would reduce the "firearm death rate." Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed feel anyone, such as a convicted felon, in violation of state or federal firearm possession laws should receive a maximum prison term, if convicted.

Riley told CNSnews.com today's gun control laws and proposed legislation before Congress is inadequate.

"The reason they're ineffective is because they try to target someone's behavior," said Riley. "Most gun control laws don't effect manufacture and distribution of firearms, and that's what we think the laws should effect."

Second Amendment supporters were quick to dismiss Riley's remarks.

"Gun control laws don't effect criminals anymore than drug laws effect criminals," said Zelman.

Added Feldman, "There's never been a written law that prevented a criminal from committing his crime."