The Windy City has a serious leadership problem. Amid the coronavirus pandemic and now widespread looting and riots, the violence and crime in Chicago is historically bad. But it is Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s dangerous pleas to citizens that risks even more lives.
Criminals Don’t Care
Known for having some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, it’s not surprising criminal misuse of firearms is rampant in Chicago. Gun control groups, the Chicago Police Department and Mayor Lightfoot all combined their brainpower recently to announce a planned doubling-of-efforts to curb gun crimes ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend.
The result? The deadliest holiday weekend in five years. Afterwards Mayor Lightfoot passed the buck, dodged blame and announced, “Whatever the plan was, it didn’t work.” Well Mayor Lightfoot, it turns out the criminals that don’t follow your gun control laws don’t care that you’re trying extra hard to enforce them either.
Now as rioters and looters destroy businesses and private property and threaten the lives of innocent bystanders in cities across the country, stumping on the message of peaceful protestors, Mayor Lightfoot pleaded with Chicagoans facing life or death, stating, “Do not pick up arms and try to be the police. If there’s a problem, call 911. I urge people to show strength and do not take matters into your own hands.” Was she suggesting that law-abiding gun owners are vigilantes?
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread earlier this year and stay-at-home orders were issued, Americans became more concerned about their safety and protecting their families, homes, property and businesses. It made sense – local law enforcement was stretched thin, jails were releasing violent criminals and prosecutors announced they wouldn’t prosecute those committing crimes.
I’m sorry, Chicago. You’re screwed. This is your Mayor.
SOUND ON: Must listen leaked audio (language warning) pic.twitter.com/100bO09dLC
— TheSharpEdge (@TheSharpEdge1) June 9, 2020
As a result, and for legitimately good reasons, record numbers of law-abiding Americans chose to exercise their Second Amendment right and turned out to purchase firearms. Millions did so for the first time. Fortunately, as a result of NSSF’s efforts, gun stores were deemed “essential” across most of the country and remained open to help Americans exercise those rights.
Perhaps Mayor Lightfoot should take note. Across the country, law-abiding Americans are stepping up to protect their homes, their communities, their businesses, the businesses of their neighbors and even protecting those peacefully assembled for protests.
While Chicago Mayor Lightfoot and many blue state governors tout more and more gun control, facts show otherwise. As gun ownership reaches an all-time high, national violent crime continues to trend lower. Millions of new firearm owners, including women and minorities, are seeking training and education and the trends will continue.
NSSF launched safety initiatives like Project ChildSafe, Don’t Lie for the Other Guy and Operation Secure Store to educate gun owners and reduce unintended firearm accidents in the home and decrease the criminal acquisition and thefts at firearm retailers. These decades-long efforts are Real Solutions and are paying off as unintentional firearm fatalities in America reached the lowest level on record in 2019 after more than a century of tracking data.
For America’s mayors like Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot and Democratic governors who push increased gun control and wishful thinking to reduce violence and criminal misuse of firearms, they need to think again. The Second Amendment right for law-abiding Americans to purchase and use firearms to protect themselves exists exactly for times like this.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.