Jacobs talks to ABC's Good Morning America about gun control in the wake of recent shootings
The recent deadly shootings in Binghamton, Pittsburgh, and Washington State provided the backdrop for James Jacobs, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts and director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice, to discuss gun control on ABC's Good Morning America on April 5.
"There's no way of addressing these incidents by making it more difficult for deranged people who are willing to kill themselves to obtain a firearm,” Jacobs said. “I think it's not possible to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
Jacobs, who is the author of Can Gun Control Work?, noted that there are too many guns in the United States and too many ways to obtain them.
He said gun control legislation would need to be examined carefully to determine the cost to society. “For example, we could say any person who's ever misused a firearm should be sent to prison for life. And that would prevent one death because one of those people would recidivate, but the cost of that would be enormous and more than the society would be willing to bear.”
He said the Brady Law has some limited significance, but it only prevents those with criminal backgrounds from purchasing firearms from licensed dealers. “They can buy the firearm from a friend, they can borrow it, they can buy it on the black market.”
“It sounds like a defeatist and fatalistic thing, but in such a big country we can be thankful that there are very few of these incidents,” Jacobs said. “Maybe what we could do better is try to be alert to hints that there are people who are going to go off in this way and have better mechanisms of feeding that information to the police and to appropriate authorities.”