Newsflash: The criminals behind the Boston Marathon bombings apparently acted — wait for it — criminally.

A curious report by the Reuters news service about a week after the blasts, which killed three people and wounded more than 260, detailed the unthinkable.

“The two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, who police say engaged in a gun battle with officers early [April 19] after a frenzied manhunt, were not licensed to own guns in the towns where they lived,” the Reuters article read.

What? The people apparently behind a terrorist attack and who killed a police officer — the surviving Tsarnaev brother reportedly has admitted their guilt — also were lawbreakers?


(Not answered in the Reuters story was whether Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were licensed to make and detonate bombs.)

While it might seem laughably obvious that someone willing to kill another person wouldn’t be deterred by a law barring him or her from obtaining a lethal weapon, not everyone shares that logic. The Boston Marathon bombing primarily involved explosives, but gun control advocates strangely are using the incident to bolster their arguments for tighter restrictions on firearms.

Their position apparently works whether the bombers were properly licensed gun owners or not.

If their firearms had been legal, gun control advocates would argue that current laws on purchasing firearms aren’t strict enough to weed out the bad seeds (as has been argued before). But since the guns weren’t legally obtained, the same advocates instead are using essentially the same argument — again, that current restrictions are so loose anyone can get a weapon.

Their only solution: Make gun sales and ownership as difficult as possible for everyone.

Such thinking, of course, ignores the idea that if a criminal wants to obtain a deadly weapon, he or she won’t think twice about violating the law to get it. It also casts aside the reality that the Tsarnaev brothers’ primary weapons weren’t guns at all, but rather pressure cookers full of shrapnel and other items.

Are we next going to start restricting pressure cooker purchases, licensing them only to specially identified and approved chefs?

What if a future terrorist using a pressure cooker bomb also is discovered to be a chef? Will our sights then turn to profiling and publicly maligning America’s cooks — as we’re doing with gun owners — rather than pointing the finger at the real culprits, namely criminals bent on killing?

Terrorists and criminals alike don’t follow the rules of society. We can’t simply legislate them out of existence.

Nor can we treat everyday citizens like criminals when they haven’t done anything to earn it.

The key to resolving America’s gun debate is finding a balanced solution that addresses safety and Constitutionally protected rights, as well as reality. Anything else is just naive pretending or willful ignorance.

— Tommy Felts,

managing editor