“The city of Chicago, bedeviled by street gang violence, refuses to give in to ever more restrictive court rulings against enactment of sensible gun safety laws,” The New York Times editorial writer opines. “The Supreme Court’s misguided 2010 decision ended the nearly 30-year-long ban on handguns in Chicago.” Now that’s what I call tortured logic . . .
Misguided as it wasn’t, the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision wasn’t “restrictive” against “sensible gun safety laws.” It was for the restoration of residents’ indeed all Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Thwarting the spirit of that ruling with onerous regulations (surprise!) doesn’t make Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a man of the people. It makes him a fascist.
Instead of rolling over, Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded this week with some reasonable proposals designed to pass constitutional muster while upholding the city’s basic obligation to protect citizens. This time, zoning regulations would be used to limit gun shops to less than 1 percent of the city’s geographic area, with tight auditing of the shops, sales limited to one handgun per customer per month, a 72-hour waiting period to buy handguns and the simple videotaping of gun sales to deter buyers from using false identification.
Don’t you love the word “simple” in the phrase “simple videotaping of gun sales”? Neither do I. It sounds . . . creepy. Hell it is creepy. You can almost hear a bureaucrat saying “if you’re doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.” Except fear of government itself, I might add.
Since when does a city government get to say how many examples of a lawful product you can buy, and make you wait to buy it? I know: there are states with one-gun-a-month laws (California, Maryland and New Jersey). And states that have even longer “cooling off” handgun purchase waiting requirements (e.g. Rhode Island’s seven-day delay). But four wrongs don’t make a right. In fact, they piss all over a right – in that “a right delayed is a right denied” kinda way.
These sensible efforts underscore how difficult it is for local governments to protect the public from gun violence when obstructionist politicians in Washington blithely refuse to enact federal laws closing gaps and loopholes in state and federal laws that feed the nation’s gun mayhem.
Is there a “sensible” drinking game? You know: take a sip of coffee every time a gun control advocate uses the word “sensible,” “reasonable,” “gaps,” “reform” or “loopholes.” Or the phrases “common sense” and “gun safety” If there was I’d be wired like an electric power sub-station. As for the politicians’ blithe spirit, I don’t suppose the Times’ editorialist would care to entertain the idea that their refusal to enact civilian disarmament legislation has something to do with their constituency’s desire not have them enact civilian disarmament legislation. No? OK then.
The Chicago proposals are rooted in proven reforms that Congress should be considering nationally. In 2006, New York City sued 27 out-of-state firearm dealers that were major sources of guns used in city crimes. In a settlement, the dealers agreed to videotape sales and train their staffs to recognize straw buyers, who are in the business of reselling weapons. Follow-up studies showed a major drop in crime-scene guns that came from the shops that had been feeding the underworld pipeline.
What follow-up studies? A citation would be helpful. As would some kind of context. What were the variables involved? Which shops, what training, who reviewed the videotapes, were the videotapes used to arrest ONE person? Did the actions have an impact on New York City crime? PROVE IT. Especially when you use the word “proven” to promote a Big Brother intrusion into the exercise of a Constitutionally protected right.
If I may be allowed to use the term, common sense tells us that the Chicago proposals will do sweet FA to reduce the flow of firearms into the “underworld pipeline.” Not because surrounding states have lax gun laws. Because criminals need guns to threaten people and shoot each other. The idea that gun store laws will “choke off” their supply of firearms to the point where a gang banger says “Damn! I’m can’t shoot that MF’er who ripped me off ’cause I can’t get a gun!” is laughable. Ludicrous. Preposterous.
Which is not to say that the New York Times is totally deceitful or deluded. They “get” that the disarmament they adore is only possible in places where Democratically-controlled regimes hold sway.
Washington lawmakers’ disgraceful surrender to the gun lobby was clear last year. The Senate defeated gun safety reforms despite public outrage at the carnage in Newtown, Conn. There usually comes a point after a mass shooting when the word “closure” is invoked and the politicians move on. It looks as if those in Congress can’t embrace closure soon enough, particularly as this year’s electoral cycle heats up.
If “closure” means the pols leave Americans’ gun rights alone, I’m all for it. It’s too bad we can’t move on to addressing some of the issues that leave mentally deranged and criminals on the streets, but I’ll settle for stasis. For now.
Regarding Chicago’s foot-dragging on firearms freedom, f that. If they have to be dragged kicking and screaming into accordance both the letter and spirit of the law, let the kicking and screaming begin. Continue. Whatever.