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VICTOR JOECKS: Harris’ Las Vegas visit spotlighted failure of gun control

Vice President Kamala Harris came to Las Vegas to talk up gun control. If she had bothered to look around, she would have seen its failure.

On Monday, Harris took a break from celebrating the murder of preborn babies to talk about restricting the ownership of firearms. At Southwest Career and Technical Academy, she spoke about the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Joe Biden signed in 2022. That bill led to an executive branch rule requiring more background checks for gun buyers.

“We have finally closed that (background check) loophole,” she said.

There’s certainly a need to reduce gun crime. Last week in a Summerlin law office, lawyer Joseph Houston shot and killed Dennis Prince, another lawyer, and his wife Ashley. Houston then took his own life. The shooting apparently stemmed from a bitter divorce and custody battle involving Houston’s son and grandchildren. Say a prayer for those families and especially the children involved. Horrible.

What Harris insinuates is that Biden’s actions to expand background checks will prevent shootings such as this. The appeal of that is obvious.

One problem. Nevada already requires universal background checks — and has since 2020. Harris’ solution didn’t prevent this murder or many others. In 2019 — before universal background checks — Clark County had 149 homicides. All homicides aren’t murder. Most, but not all, involve firearms.

If universal background checks stopped murder, those numbers would have dropped. Instead, there were 204 homicides in 2020. Last year, there were 233 homicides, as reported in February.

In North Las Vegas, killings jumped 120 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to 2023. All of those victims died from gunfire. Once again, universal background checks didn’t stop those crimes.

Each of those events is a tragedy, even if they don’t dominate the headlines.

There are a couple reasons universal background checks fail. First, in many cases, guns used in murders are legally purchased. Houston’s killing spree was shocking, in part, because it was so unexpected. Even the most thorough background check can’t predict the future. As an aside, don’t pretend a “red flag” law would have stopped this shooting. Nevada already has one.

Second, someone who can’t obtain a gun legally has many different ways to obtain one illegally. People who are willing to murder someone are not worried about breaking a gun law. It’s why signs announcing “a gun-free zone” don’t stop criminals from carrying guns there.

There is a way to stop gun crime — with more guns in the right hands. Ashley Prince originally wanted security at the deadly meeting. Unfortunately, she canceled the request after finding out her ex-husband wouldn’t be there. On Saturday, a Henderson resident drove a potential burglar from his home by shooting at him. Armed campus police stopped last year’s deadly UNLV shooting. Harris, herself, is protected by armed Secret Service agents.

The problem with the gun control laws Harris touts is that they make it more likely that the victims — not criminals — will be unarmed.

Listen to Victor Joecks discuss his columns each Monday at 7 a.m. with Kevin Wall on AM 670 KMZQ Right Talk. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on X.

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