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Jul. 10, 2014

All Together Now: It’s Not a Gun Problem

Leftists blame guns for another weekend rampage by gangs.

Over the Independence Day weekend, Chicago once again was plagued by numerous shootings – 82 to be exact, 16 of them fatal. Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the violence “totally unacceptable.” And The Washington Post took the opportunity to – surprise – blame guns.

In an editorial, the Post opined, “We can only hope that the bloody numbers help in tipping the balance toward eventual enactment of common-sense gun laws.” But two of the deaths the Post exploits were teenagers – “a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old who died in gun battles with police got their hands on a .44-caliber revolver and a semi-automatic handgun, respectively.” Those teens certainly didn’t acquire their guns legally, so the Post’s call for “common-sense gun laws” is an empty one for these two young men and others like them. The two also “died in gun battles with police,” which indicates there was more at play and that they were stopped by police.

The Post also pointed to “gun violence” in other cities like New York, where 12 were shot over the weekend. The editors lamented, “It is innocent people in these cities and countless other localities marked by gun violence who must bear the consequences of Congress’s abdication on gun control.”

Indeed, innocent people are suffering, but the violence is perpetrated by criminals – primarily gangs – not law-abiding citizens. The editors even link to a story in the LA Times which gives some key information on the Chicago shootings: “Many of the shootings, which began about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, took place in some of the most violent South Side neighborhoods. Five people were reportedly shot by Chicago police, including two who died.” Furthermore, “Chicago has become the poster child for urban violence, fueled by gangs [emphasis added] and involving drive-by shootings or attacks from cars on other vehicles.”

Yet there isn’t a single mention of the word “gang” in the Post’s editorial. Nor do anti-gun groups like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new Everytown for Gun Safety or Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America spend a moment or dollar focusing on gangs. They’d rather take guns from law-abiding citizens than deal with gangs – or better yet the broken families and government-fostered poverty that create those gangs.

Another important tidbit from the Times ignored by the Post: “[H]omicides have actually been going down since 2012 when the city surpassed 500.” Last year, the city saw the fewest homicides in 50 years. That’s good news, though not nearly good enough.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s outright ban on handguns, and in January, a federal judge ruled unconstitutional the city’s remaining ban on gun shops within city limits. Still, the Windy City has the toughest gun control laws in the nation and Emanuel wants to make them even tougher. “The city of Chicago does not have a problem of too few guns,” Emanuel declared in May. “There are way too many guns from shops in Cook County and from neighboring states that come into the city of Chicago. On any given weekend, our police officers take more guns off the streets than either New York or [Los Angeles].”

It should be obvious, however, that the problem isn’t guns. Criminals have had no trouble obtaining firearms in spite of Chicago working overtime to keep them from the law-abiding. Gang-bangers won’t be deterred by a waiting period or a background check or a magazine-capacity limit. If Emanuel and company are truly interested in reducing violence instead of merely restricting constitutional rights – a big “if,” to be sure – they’ll address the root causes of gang violence. Hint: It’s not caused by inanimate objects.

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