Guest Opinions

Target ISIS, not guns and pressure cookers

Clayton E. Cramer
Clayton E. Cramer

In the aftermath of the Islamic terrorist attack in Orlando, President Barack Obama and most Democrats are demanding more gun control laws. But why not pressure cooker control? That’s what the Boston Marathon bombers (another Islamic terrorist attack) used because they hold the pressure of an explosion in until it becomes even more deadly. Silly? The Boston Marathon isn’t the only use of pressure cooker bombs in America. I found more news stories about them than I would have guessed.

How much of an inconvenience is it, really, to pass a background check, when you buy a pressure cooker? How badly do you need one? I don’t own one of those “bomb kits,” and I never have. Can’t you wait a few days?

Of course, my point is not the intrinsic evil of pressure cookers, but that gun control is aiming at the least important part of the problem. I suspect a pressure cooker bomb was used in Boston because of Massachusetts’ strict gun control laws. The more strict you make those laws, the more diversity in terror methods ISIS will use. Those of us who took chemistry in college (and still remember enough to be useful) can construct a poison gas device adequate to kill dozens to hundreds of people inside a small building, from materials you can buy at a big box retailer, for the price of an assault weapon, with no questions asked. I am sure ISIS knows this, too.

Solve the problem at the root, and the method does not matter. How can we solve it at the root? Declare war on ISIS and make their centers of command and control cease to exist. This is always the goal of war: destroy those giving the orders or in this case, using social media to radicalize Muslims in the West, who commit terrorist attacks somewhere in the world almost daily.

If you think mandatory firearms background checks will solve this problem or the larger problem of murder: There are eight American states that already had such requirements in the period 1960-2012. Two had statistically significant changes in murder rates after adopting background checks; the other six did not. Of those six, four had increases in murder rates. Why? Murderers tend not to obey gun control laws.

Clayton E. Cramer, who writes frequently about guns, is a former adjunct faculty member at the College of Western Idaho who lives in Horseshoe Bend.