PERKINS: What Do Vaping And Guns Have In Common?

Written by Dan Perkins on October 21, 2019

You have got to be reading the headline and asking yourself, has Perkins has really lost it? Just wait and see what happens. In both cases, the government wants to ban both products from law-abiding American citizens. Rather than face the issue of dealing with an incredibly small number of offenders who are operating illegally, the government wants to punish the people who are acting responsibly, with little or no punishment to those who have broken the law.

Beto O’Rourke said in the Democratic debate this week, “After insisting American gun owners will “do the right thing” by turning in their firearms under his gun control plan, Beto O’Rourke said police will go door-to-door to confiscate AR-15s if people refuse to hand them over voluntarily.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us:

What they don’t know?

At this time, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC have not identified the cause or causes of the lung injuries in vaping cases, and the only commonality among all cases is that patients report the use of the vaping e-cigarette products.

No one compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of these illnesses to date, and it may be that there is more than one cause for this outbreak. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation. The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time.

What do they know?

“The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”

The bad guys may well be the source of the tainted products as the CDC suspects, but the actions taken by the CDC will have little impact on the supply of the bad products. If you are told that you can’t have something, then your reaction is the more you want it. By closing down the legal supply, the government is driving American consumers to the black market where they buy the dangerous products.

With the legal market closed down, the illegal marketers will have to increase production in order to meet increasing demand. To grow more product, illegal producers will have to shorten the harvest time and in doing so, will have to use more growing chemicals to accelerate production.

There are people who think that if we have more laws on the books for the possession of guns or cannabis, the safer the people and the country will be. The problem with a change in the rules for the good guys doesn’t change the behavior of the bad guys. No matter how many laws are passed, the bad guys never follow the rules.

The penalties for selling illegal guns or cannabis are not stiff enough. The government can deter some of the illicit activity in both markets, but no matter how hard they try, illegal guns or drugs can never be eliminated.

The idea that the government solves a problem by taking something away just doesn’t work. The government took away alcohol during prohibition; they even changed the Constitution to make it illegal. However, people just moved to the bootleg market to buy their alcohol, and when the government found out how much the black market thrived, the people demanded repeal of the amendment. The government also realized that bathtub gin killed people.

Talking away guns will not save lives. If arms are taken away from law-abiding Americans, I believe people will still be shot and killed, perhaps more than ever. In fact, if the bad guys know that the good guys do not have guns, they will be more emboldened to use their weapons.

The simple reason bad guys sell guns and poisoned vape products is the same reason people buy them: less money. When the government regulates the supply of a product, they do so by imposing taxes and fees. Bad guys don’t pay the taxes or fees so they can afford to offer inferior products at a lower price. People who want the product will buy more if the price is lower.

The illicit marijuana markets continue to operate – and are even boosted – in states where adult-use cannabis is legal. An analysis from BDS Analytics, a Colorado-based cannabis industry research firm, estimated that 78% of all marijuana sold in California in 2018 was illicit, as was nearly 90% of the weed sold last year in Massachusetts. More than half of marijuana sales in Oregon and Washington were illegal last year.

Perhaps I’m not as crazy as you thought when you re-read the headline of this commentary!

Perkins Twist, I made the point that it is all about money, and perhaps one of the solutions to both illegal gun and cannabis sales is about money. If you are an illicit dealer of street cannabis or vaping canisters, you will have to pay a fine if convicted of trafficking in illegal drugs at $100,000 per ounce. If you sell a gun illegally, you must, if caught, pay a fine of $10,000 per weapon. Now here is the twist for any person who notifies a government authority about guns or drugs; they get 10% of the value of the fine. How ironic that we can create real whistleblowers and make America safer.