By now, tens of millions of Americans have seen the video and their reaction has been anything but ‘hysteria.’ A masked criminal firing several rounds at a tumbling victim within point blank range, two small children caught in the middle.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should’ve seen the footage by now. It happened in her backyard after all, in a Bronx, New York, neighborhood and her congressional district includes portions of the Bronx.
So Sad 😞: Children Nearly Struck by Gunfire in Targeted Bronx Sidewalk Shooting 🥴.. what is New York coming to pic.twitter.com/bRpLCRMv7P
— TheMyxs (@TheMyxs) June 18, 2021
The recent incident is just one in a larger trend of spiking criminal violence as Americans have seen the consequences of rising calls to ‘defund the police,’ slashed law enforcement budgets, and criminals receiving ‘get out of jail’ cards from prosecutors. They’ve had enough and millions have taken the completely reasonable action of lawfully purchasing a firearm.
In a virtual town hall event with fellow ‘Squad’ member Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez called their reaction ‘hysteria.’
Security For Me, Not For Thee
More than 8.4 million. That’s how many first-time firearm purchasers were driven off the fence in 2020 and into the local community retailer to buy a gun. The reasons vary and are all worthy; hunting, recreational shooting and target practice, but most commonly for self-defense.
Eddie Lawrence of Orlando, Florida, is one of the millions of first-time gun buyers this year and he was looking for peace of mind and protection for his home and family so he bought a handgun from a local Orlando gun store.
“Home security,” Lawrence told News Channel 13. “I don’t need to carry it out in public, that is not the reason of me buying it. It’s to protect my family and my home.” NSSF firearm retailer survey data shows handguns were the most common purchase with an average price of $594.95.
That’s not good enough for either Rep. Ocasio-Cortez or Rep. Bowman. Despite mocking first-time firearm purchasers as giving into the crime ‘hysteria,’ the two representatives favor strict gun control, support efforts to defund the police, and yet both spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on private armed personal security details.
“Defunding the police means defunding the police,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said in June 30, 2020, statement. “It doesn’t mean budget tricks or funny math.” However, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has paid more than $31,000 for private armed security services in 2021 already.
Rep. Bowman on the other hand, according to a report, “asked for and received a special police detail to guard his Yonkers, New York, home.”
Coast to Coast
As anyone who’s been paying attention knows, the spiking crime isn’t only a New York problem. From Atlanta, to Pittsburgh, to Kansas City, Chicago, and Denver and all the way to Oakland, law-abiding citizens are legitimately worried for their safety and the safety of their families.
In Oakland, the city council just this week diverted $17 million from the police budget, in a state with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong condemned the recent rising violence in his city and laid the blame directly at the feet of politicians calling for slashed police budgets and the city leaders who approved the cuts.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong speaks about rising crime in his city and the city council cutting millions away from his department’s budget:
“Today, we find ourselves in a crisis…Crime is out of control in the city of Oakland.”pic.twitter.com/lcZ9kbNUFN
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) June 28, 2021
“So we see clearly that crime is out of control in the city of Oakland. And our response was for less police resources,” Chief Armstrong said. The two members of the Oakland city council who voted against the budget cuts were from the two council districts that experience the highest crime.
In the Golden State, nearly 1.2 million new firearms were registered in 2020 and according to local reporting, “gun sales show no signs of slowing down.” Even local progressive activist Stacy Williams bought her first gun, recognizing the severity of her safety concerns, saying “So how does a single woman protect herself? If the police won’t help, you know?”
These very real concerns for personal safety are far too common across the country and are far from the ‘hysteria’ that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez would have you believe.
Not Paying Attention
Elected officials like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Bowman and others who continue to push policies that limit the ability of local law enforcement to keep communities safe remain surprised at record firearm sales month after month. They shouldn’t be. Polling from numerous outlets show support for more gun control declining and at the lowest levels in several years, including a drop of several points among self-described Democrats.
Americans want safety. If it can’t be assured by local police whose budgets have been cut, then they will lawfully take their security concerns into their own hands. If politicians like Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman continue to curtail their ability to do so, voters may very well vote them out. That’s not hysteria.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.