• By Bill O'Reilly

    Because I am a simple man, I'm going to frame a very complex issue in the clearest way possible. We'll take it step-by-step.

    First, gun control will not stop, will not stop crazy people from committing murder. There are more than 300 million guns in the USA right now so thugs are going to get them. Also, the government has an obligation to protect Americans with laws that do not harm law abiding citizens. That means that any new gun laws must allow we, the people, to protect ourselves as the founding fathers mandated.

    "Talking Points" has no problem with background checks or with gun registration. After all, we register our cars. But these things should be decided by the individual states, not the federal government. If the state like New York wants to ban assault rifles, fine. But Wyoming may not want to do that. And the feds should respect the states' rights.

    What President Obama can do is make all gun crimes federal crimes. Congress can forbid individuals from crossing state lines with certain types of weapons. Bank robbery is a federal crime. So is some drug dealing. Why not put gun felonies in that category? Let's take a look at Chicago which has banned handguns. More people were murdered by guns in Chicago in 2012 last year than were killed among coalition forces in Afghanistan.

    Obviously the gun ban in Chicago doesn't work. Do we all get that? What would work is a 10-year mandatory federal prison term for anyone convicted of any gun crime in the windy city or anywhere else in America. Rob a 7/11 with a gun. 10 years in the federal pen. Illegally possess a gun, same deal, 10 years. That's how you keep guns off the street.

    Don't believe me? Take a look how drastically the crime rate has fallen in the USA over the past decade, nationwide, violent crime down 23 percent. Why? Because of strict mandatory prison terms for chronic criminals.

    If you read the late James Wilson, the nation's smartest criminologist, you will see that punishing violent criminals harshly is the key to public safety. So let's recap again in a very simple way. Banning guns doesn't work. But limiting heavy weapons like assault rifles should be considered by the individual states. Background checks on gun buyers should be mandatory. So should gun registration.

    But the situation will not get any better in Chicago or anywhere else until gun crimes are federalized. And by the way, New York state did pass a tough new gun law yesterday and it forbids publishing the names of legal gun owners if they object. Take that, "The Journal News" of Westchester County.

    And that's "The Memo."

    - You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com.