Chris Powell: Social, economic policies, not plastic guns and 'ghost guns,' at root of urban violence

  The “Liberator’’ — a 3D-printable single shot handgun, the first such printable firearm design made widely available online.

The “Liberator’’ — a 3D-printable single shot handgun, the first such printable firearm design made widely available online.


Maybe someday enough people in Connecticut will realize that pose-striking by politicians solves no problems but their own need for attention, but that day didn't come the other week.

Instead the pose striking got more ludicrous as Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim gathered his police chief, state legislators, City Council members, and other gullibles while he signed a city ordinance purporting to outlaw homemade plastic guns and guns without serial numbers, "ghost guns."

"As a city, we are taking a stand against gun violence," Mayor Ganim said, as if state and federal laws haven't done that for centuries already and as if a piddling city ordinance will deter anyone who isn't deterred by those laws.

Homemade plastic guns are the target of the latest hysteria contrived by the political left. Theoretically such guns might be smuggled through metal detectors onto airplanes. But though Bridgeport owns the small airport in Stratford next door, it has no scheduled commercial flights and doesn't plan any.

In any case homemade plastic guns can't fire accurately or even repeatedly. As for "ghost guns," almost any ordinary gun can be turned into one by filing off its serial number.

But the main drawback of homemade plastic guns is the expense of making them. They require a computerized machine that molds plastic. Except for the chance of slipping it past a metal detector, why would anyone bother getting a homemade plastic gun when tens of millions of ordinary metal guns are already available cheap throughout the country?

Of course those are the guns used in nearly all crime, and there are probably a million crimes committed with ordinary metal guns for every crime committed with a homemade plastic gun.

Besides, guns aren't even the big problem with crime, and especially not in Bridgeport. No, the gun problem is just part of the demographic problem in Bridgeport and other cities -- the steady impoverishment and proletarianizing of the population by government's mistaken social and economic policies. There is little gun crime in middle-class and prosperous suburbs, where people have enough education and family upbringing to go on to support themselves honestly.

But where there are few parents, little incentive at home for children to become educated, no job skills, and plenty of "social programs" purporting but failing to remediate those catastrophic conditions -- that is, wherever there is an environment like Bridgeport's -- crime, drugs and guns are a way of life.

Of course if he wants to win election again Mayor Ganim can hardly acknowledge that Bridgeport's problem is the people who live there, his own constituents. City politicians need scapegoats.

Ganim's scapegoats were homemade plastic guns and "ghost" guns. A few weeks earlier the mayor was railing against immigration-law enforcement. Soon he will return to complaining about what he will call inadequate state financial aid to Bridgeport, though state government reimburses about half the city's budget, as it reimburses half the budgets of most cities, and though the more the cities get, the worse their living conditions become.

But Connecticut's cities actually do well at what they are really supposed to do -- to separate the underclass from the middle class enough so no one with any political awareness is prompted to wonder why state government's most expensive policies profit only those in charge of implementing them.


Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.


  Street scene in Bridgeport, once a thriving industrial town and still, despite its many woes, Connecticut’s largest city.

Street scene in Bridgeport, once a thriving industrial town and still, despite its many woes, Connecticut’s largest city.