May 27, 2020
The following is a perspective by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Chicago is proving strict gun control laws are a failure. Sadly, it’s a lesson that is costing lives. City and state officials, however, are refusing to learn this tragic lesson.
Criminal misuse of firearms led to the deadliest Memorial Day weekend in the Windy City in five years. That’s despite state, city and police officials preparing for a surge in criminal violence. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker already implemented a statewide stay-at-home order. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, newly sworn Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown and even gun control groups announced deterrence plans ahead of the weekend, doubling efforts to curb expected violence.
On Tuesday morning, following a weekend that saw criminal misuse of firearms result in 10 deaths and 39 wounded, Mayor Lightfoot said, “It was a fail. Whatever the plan was, it didn’t work.’”
Criminals Don’t Follow the Law
The numbers were staggering following the weekend and Superintendent Brown reflected, “Most individuals complied with the order…But the stay-at-home order did little to prevent violence…” He attributed Chicago’s high weekend crime figures to “rival gangs” and blamed “clashes involving the sale of illegal drugs.”
Mayor Lightfoot pleaded with Chicagoans following the weekend to do more to help stave off future criminal violence. “We can’t do this alone solely with the resources of the Chicago Police Department and I have said this many times,” she said. Passing the buck seems to be in style right now.
Instead of holding criminals accountable, Illinois public officials are more interested in restricting the liberties of those who follow the law. Criminals have been released from jails, some committing violent crimes right away including murder, and prosecutors announced they wouldn’t prosecute law-breakers during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, Mayor Lightfoot pointed fingers at Superintendent Brown, her hand-picked top cop, and the governor for a poor planning, prison releases and a nonfunctioning judicial system. Superintendent Brown blamed pent up frustration over lengthy lockdown orders by the governor.
Meanwhile, Illinoisans are fed up. More than 100,00 background checks were completed for the sale of a firearm in Illinois during the coronavirus pandemic, coinciding with the nearly 4 million background checks for gun purchases nationwide during the same timeframe. Reports from firearm retailers suggest the many of the purchases have been first-time buyers legitimately concerned for their safety. In strict gun control states, first-time buyers have been surprised by the overly rigorous process.
It turns out mocking law-abiding citizens for exercising their constitutionally-protected Second Amendment rights to protect themselves as many in the media often do, or foolishly urging criminals to “chill” during times of crisis, are failing strategies. The same goes for layering on duplicative gun laws that only target the law-abiding but ignores criminal activity. Is anyone truly surprised that criminals, who do not obey gun control laws, also refused to abide by “stay-at-home” orders?
Ownership Up, Crime Down
Antigun big city mayors and governors calling for more gun control are barking up the wrong tree. Firearm ownership in the U.S. is at an all-time high. At the same time, violent crime and homicide are on a continuing downward trend nationally.
NSSF® encourages gun owners to be educated, safe and responsible. The firearm industry trade association launched the successful initiatives Project ChildSafe® and Operation Secure Store® to reduce unintended firearm accidents in the home and theft and robberies at firearm retailers. These efforts have paid off as unintended firearm fatalities in the United States are at the lowest numbers ever recorded in over one hundred years.
Reducing crime starts with holding criminals accountable. The Department of Justice proved that. The firearm industry has shown that Real Solutions® work. Everything else is scapegoating.
National Shooting Sports Foundation aims to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide.