We saw armed police officers raid the wrong house and kill innocent people in their beds. That happened most recently in a home in Louisville, Kentucky. There, three undercover cops shot 26 year old Breonna Taylor to death during a midnight raid as she lay asleep. In this case, the police were at the wrong address and were seeking a criminal who’d been arrested earlier that day. The police then lied about their actions when they claimed they announced themselves as law enforcement officers before they broke down Taylor’s door. Law enforcement officers are routinely held legally harmless for their actions unless the law explicitly prohibits their mistakes. In response to this well publicized incident, we’ve seen a call to eliminate “no knock” raids, and further calls to eliminate or modify qualified immunity for police officers. That may be a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough.
There are several similar cases where innocent civilians were killed by police. We routinely kill or injure honest citizens after government officials abuse their authority. It is time we held government employees accountable for what they do, and for what they fail to do.
We’re in this situation because we passed too many bad laws. It seemed like a good idea at the time to allow honest police officers to make a small mistake during the pursuit of justice. That went too far until we hold cops harmless when they casually kill innocent people. What we fail to see is that many bureaucrats kill too. It never makes it into the news.
We passed laws so that honest citizens need permission to arm themselves. That may not seem like a problem to you, but it does to women who are stalked and abused. Sure, these women take out restraining orders, but the police will not be there in time to stop an attack. These vulnerable victims need a defensive tool to protect themselves from a larger and more powerful attacker until police arrive. These victims need that tool right now and they need it everywhere they go. It is a matter of life and death.
The tragic fact is that victims of domestic abuse have been murdered while they waited for a bureaucrat to allow them to buy a gun. I wrote about one victim, Carol Bowne, here. These victims are not alone.
Bureaucrats will get back to you next year if you ask permission to buy a gun and keep it in your home in New York City. It may be years before bureaucrats tell you that your application to carry a firearm in public was denied. To the bureaucrat, the simple fact that you are still alive indicates that you didn’t really have a need for a firearm as a defensive tool in the first place. The bureaucrats ignore the people who hid in fear or were killed while they waited for the state to recognize their human right of self-defense. That is inhuman and unconscionable.
Today, many of us have sympathy for those victims because we found ourselves in a similar situation. During the Covid “epidemic”, we were told that bureaucrats couldn’t be bothered to process our government required permission slip to touch a gun in a gun store. Bureaucrats were too busy to process our permits to purchase a firearm and to bring the gun home with us. Some states stopped processing applications to carry a legal firearm in public. In the name of public safety, politicians closed shooting ranges and stopped gun-safety instruction for new gun owners.
I’m not buying it. We shouldn’t have to live unarmed, unprepared, and in fear due to a bureaucrat’s delay. It is true that a gun can’t stop you from being selected as a victim of crime: it can radically change the outcome of an attack.
That is why we should remove qualified immunity from the judges, law enforcement officials, and government bureaucrats who keep honest citizens disarmed. We routinely give bureaucrats a time-limit to process applications, and bureaucrats routinely ignore that limit. These government employee should be held liable when they disarm innocent people who are then defenseless when victimized. It is unconscionable to leave innocent people defenseless due to political delays and bureaucratic incompetence. We can fix this.
Removing qualified immunity would not make the victims whole again, but it might reduce their numbers by allowing more good people to protect themselves.