As Street Cops See It

Executive Director
Law Enforcement Alliance Of America
In: The Washington Post

Any doubt as to why so many street cops hold politics and politicians in such low regard should have vanished after a reading of Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s defense of his domestic violence gun ban, more commonly known as the Lautenberg amendment [“No Guns for Wife-Beaters,” op-ed, April 3].

Sen. Lautenberg wants the public to believe that his law will protect the innocent against the violent. It won’t.

Having spent 13 years pulling street patrol in New York, I’ve found the only way to control criminal violence is to control criminals. Cops don’t learn this concept studying political science or the law. We learn it on the street, up close and personal, where things get ugly.

If a man wants to beat his spouse to a pulp, he isn’t going to pay attention to Sen. Lautenberg’s firearms ban. And because most spousal murders and assaults are committed by bludgeoning– punching and kicking– Mr. Lautenberg’s amendment fails to help most domestic violence victims.

The other point the Lautenberg amendment misses is that wife and child beaters should be tried and convicted as felons. It’s long been a federal offense for felons to possess a firearm or ammunition. And such violent degenerates have no place in society, and certainly not in law enforcement or the military.

But until we lock up violent felons for a long time and make life in prison tougher than life on the outside, we won’t make a dent in violent crime rates or reduce domestic abuse. Until we hold the purveyors of criminal violence responible for their despicable acts and exact swift, certain and serious punishment, they will still sneer at our laws and continue to rob, rape and kill.

As long as excuse-makers, such as Sen. Lautenberg, continue to blame violence on everything from guns to dysfunctional families rather than holding a criminal responsible for his actions, nothing will change, and many innocent Americans will continue to suffer.

The writer is executive director of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, an organization of 80,000 police officers concerned with criminal justice reform.