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Liberty1
04-25-2008, 7:58 PM
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-oped0424chapmanapr24,0,5976650.column

City misfires on gun violence

Steve Chapman
April 24, 2008

When a rash of gun murders takes place, it makes sense for the police to do one of two things: renew tactics that have been effective in the past at curbing homicides, or embrace ideas that have not been tried before. But those options don't appeal to Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis. What he proposes instead is a crackdown on assault weapons.

I'm tempted to say this is the moral equivalent of a placebo—a sugar pill that is irrelevant to the malady at hand. But that would be unfair. Placebos, after all, sometimes have a positive effect. Assault weapons bans, not so much.

If there are too many guns in Chicago, it's not because of any statutory oversight. The city has long outlawed the sale and possession of handguns. It also forbids assault weapons. If prohibition were the answer, no one would be asking the question.

The recent spate of killings gives a misleading impression. Since the peak years of the early 1990s, the number of murders in Chicago has fallen by more than half. In the first three months of this year, homicides were down by 1.1 percent. No one would describe the current murder rate as acceptable, but the city has made huge progress.

It has done so despite the alleged problem cited by Weis, which is the availability of guns, and particularly one type of gun. "There are just too many weapons here," he declared at a Sunday news conference. "Why in the world do we allow citizens to own assault rifles?"

Actually, in Chicago, "we" don't allow citizens to own assault rifles. Elsewhere, they are allowed for the same reason other firearms are permitted. The gun Weis villainized is a type of semiautomatic that has a fearsome military appearance but is functionally identical to many legal sporting arms.

And its bark is worse than its bite. As of March 31, there had been 87 homicides in the city. When I asked the Chicago Police Department how many of the murders are known to have involved assault rifles, the answer came back: One.

As it happens, we already have ample experience with laws against these guns. From 1994 to 2004, their manufacture and sale were banned under federal law.

Yet nationwide, the number of murders committed with rifles and shotguns began falling three years before the law was enacted.

It's true those gun homicides also fell while the law was in effect. Does that prove the value of the ban? Not exactly, since stabbing deaths fell even faster, as did murders involving crowbars, baseball bats and other blunt objects. Obviously other factors were behind the improvement.

The irrelevance of the law was plain to see. In 2004, Tom Diaz, an official of the pro-gun-control Violence Policy Center, said, "If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference" in curbing gun violence.

No surprise there. Anyone with criminal intent had plenty of deadly options at hand. The so-called assault weapons, contrary to what you might assume, were no more powerful or lethal than other, permitted guns. Not only that, but criminals, the people most likely to commit violent crimes, were completely unaffected by the ban—for the simple reason that they are not allowed to buy or own guns of any kind.

As Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck notes, most criminals arm themselves by stealing guns or buying guns stolen by someone else. So new restrictions don't make much difference to them. The federal ban was a classic illustration of how gun control works. Law-abiding people who rarely misuse their guns were deprived of options. Ex-cons went on as before.

Why wouldn't a gun ban dry up the supply of firearms available to criminals? Three reasons: There are more than 200 million guns in private hands in the United States. They have a very long useful life. And it doesn't take many to supply the nation's bad guys with all the ordnance they need.

Gun control hasn't worked as a remedy for crime. So what makes anyone think the answer is more gun control?

Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune's editorial board. E-mail: schapman@tribune .com.

Liberty1
04-25-2008, 8:01 PM
and in the comments section a Fed. chimes in

"First, let me note that I'm a federal prosecutor, but that my opinions are my own, and not necessarily those of the DOJ. However, I come to this debate with more than thirty years in law enforcement. Mr. Chapman is absolutely correct on virtually every point in his article.

The notion of heaping nonsensical restrictions on law-abiding citizens whose primary interest is in protecting themselves and their families has been tried and has failed miserably. In every instance, the effect has been to diminish citizens' constitutional rights, render law-abiding men and women defenseless, and empower human predators to wreak havoc.

The true answer to violence in our society would be complex and difficult. It would require intellectual honesty and genuine commitment on the part of politicians to tackle the real issues of poverty, a failed education system, racial discrimination, and more. However, that is apparently too difficult. So, they return to the intellectually dishonest, facile tactic of misleading the public about guns, engaging in scare tactics to make it appear as though they care. Meanwhile, they ignore the fact that restrictions on guns, ownership, and the right to self-defense have actually contributed to making Chicago a more dangerous place.

I had high hopes when Mr. Weis came to the CPD. Now, it appears, he joins the ranks of public officials who have failed us."

USN CHIEF
04-25-2008, 8:02 PM
Almost unreal... Had to read it twice...

RobG
04-25-2008, 8:08 PM
WOW! Awesome read.

acolytes
04-25-2008, 8:17 PM
The guy that chimed in should be president.

aileron
04-25-2008, 8:21 PM
Nice... Hope they keep up this type dialog, its good to see.

Pvt. Cowboy
04-25-2008, 8:25 PM
Big city police chiefs are political monsters who think of nothing more than higher office, whether elected or (better yet) appointed, and are often not even native to the cities where they hold office. Think of the list of Los Angeles chiefs you remember and where they came from; They're migratory public servants criss-crossing the nation sucking from the public teat.

That's one reason why it's natural for them to go after guns than people. It's easy to demonize guns before a crowd of deep blue urban dwellers, but not at all easy to point to a city's demographic makeup or social problems without attracting the ire of community activists and elected city managers who are in the hot seat and directly responsible for the social ills of the big city. That's why police chiefs and commissioners cook the books on crime with shady backroom statistics juggling and outright lies: 'You protect my back, I'll protect yours'.

They'll always go after guns first. Guns don't vote. Metro area gun owners aren't a significant political force. They're usually conservative anyway, and who cares what they think about anything when they're outnumbered by ten or twenty percentage points every election?

Remember that this story comes from Chicago, a city so left wing that guns are basically banned outright. It's a city where for a politician to seek higher office he must kiss the butt of a phony religious figure with a huge radical chip on his shoulder and attend his race-oriented congregation. Also, to get the proper introductions to the elite political power brokers in Chicago, Obama has to get approval from bomb-throwing 1960s radicals before the right doors open.

To hell with Chicago and everything about that city. In fact, that goes for all deep blue metro areas in the nation. They made their beds, let them lie in it and stop asking for tax revenue from far away people who don't even visit those cities and are not to blame for the social ills that the political metro area monsters created with their fancy book-learnin' social engineering.

Fjold
04-25-2008, 8:35 PM
Very good, common sense article.

Stubby
04-25-2008, 9:11 PM
WOW!!!
A big city liberal newspaper with an anti gun control statement!!!
The momentum is a changing everyone, common sense might, just might, be making a tiny comeback:eek:

Harrison_Bergeron
04-25-2008, 9:41 PM
I don't like this part, it was already covered that the powers that be do these illogical things to make the public feel good, telling the public that these initiatives don't work because they only stop the sale, not the possession will only lead to one illogical conclusion.


Why wouldn't a gun ban dry up the supply of firearms available to criminals? Three reasons: There are more than 200 million guns in private hands in the United States. They have a very long useful life. And it doesn't take many to supply the nation's bad guys with all the ordnance they need.

aileron
04-26-2008, 9:30 AM
It seems to me what the guy is trying to say is the out right futility of such a move on the part of the government. Especially local government.

Its obvious black markets would grow bigger, bolder, and badder then they are now for arms and munitions if they were made illegal in the states. It would be a nightmare for all US citizens to be out and about, or even in our own homes.

I wish they anti-gun folks (wanted to say far worst here) would get a clue about this. Its so obvious, and shows in places that have tried it.

Yankee Clipper
04-26-2008, 9:55 AM
I don't like this part, it was already covered that the powers that be do these illogical things to make the public feel good, telling the public that these initiatives don't work because they only stop the sale, not the possession will only lead to one illogical conclusion.

You may be right but the writing, the simple style and the thought arrangement where, I thought, well done. But coming from a member of their editorial staff it shouldn't come as a surprise. That’s only one but there are so many more media outlets that will have to ‘smarten-up’.
Maybe not the best part, but something that should be whispered into the ear of every anti-gunner before they go to bed at night: "The gun Weis villainized is a type of semiautomatic that has a fearsome military appearance but is functionally identical to many legal sporting arms.”
Remember Sara, ‘appearance’ never hurt anybody!

olegk
04-26-2008, 12:44 PM
Sent e-mail to him with "thank you" note and some suggestions for another article.

JayRuff
04-26-2008, 2:04 PM
WTF man, what I never understood is that how the hell it is an Assault Weapon when it's not full auto, when someone mentions Assault weapon I think, Full Auto, Grenade Launcher etc. so let me get this straight, any rifle that has an pistol grip and collapsible stock is an AW? :rolleyes:

bulgron
04-26-2008, 2:12 PM
WTF man, what I never understood is that how the hell it is an Assault Weapon when it's not full auto, when someone mentions Assault weapon I think, Full Auto, Grenade Launcher etc. so let me get this straight, any rifle that has an pistol grip and collapsible stock is an AW? :rolleyes:

No, you got that wrong.

Any rifle that has a pistol grip and a collapsible stock is a "powerful AW".

You forgot the "powerful".

:D

CCWFacts
04-26-2008, 2:32 PM
Yeah, an AR-15 in 223 is a "powerful" assault weapon, while a semi-automatic Remington 7400 in 30'06 is a legitimate sporting weapon.

elroy
04-27-2008, 10:17 AM
As of March 31, there had been 87 homicides in the city. When I asked the Chicago Police Department how many of the murders are known to have involved assault rifles, the answer came back: One.

the most important line in the whole article , imo

Heatseeker
04-27-2008, 12:20 PM
I couldn't help myself, I had to comment and commend Chapman on a 'real' article.

He's probably took a little heat from the Trib's editorial board on this one...

tiki
04-27-2008, 3:53 PM
I don't like this part, it was already covered that the powers that be do these illogical things to make the public feel good, telling the public that these initiatives don't work because they only stop the sale, not the possession will only lead to one illogical conclusion.

Why wouldn't a gun ban dry up the supply of firearms available to criminals? Three reasons: There are more than 200 million guns in private hands in the United States. They have a very long useful life. And it doesn't take many to supply the nation's bad guys with all the ordnance they need.


Yes, but that illogical conclusion can be met with the simple fact that heroin and cocaine have never been legal in this country nor are they produced domestically, however, there is a seemingly endless supply of both on the streets. I'm not a drug user, however, due to the current 10 day wait on a firearms transaction, I could probably go out with $1000.00 and come home with $1000 in cocaine quicker than I could come home with a new Kimber.

It is interesting to note also, that the people committing the drive bys, gang shootings and other murders on the streets, the overwhelming majority of the firearms deaths in this country, are the same people selling and using those illegal drugs which are banned, and, those crimes are committed by firearms obtained illegally.

I think the response to the articly by the prosecutor has to be one of the best written, short and to the point pieces that I have read. I really liked it and will print it out so that I can hang it up in my office.