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Wailing About Guns

The world is full of professional wailers. Bemoaners, complainers and whiners. Unfortunately, many of these whimpering citizens either hold an elected office or try their darnedest to get one. The allure, I suppose, is salary and benefits … with the ability to vote oneself a raise. It may also be the idea of celebrity; that people will pay attention, making them important.

Professional whiners’ actual complaints fall just about equally into two categories:

  1. They or someone they know has “had it tough,” thus deserving special attention and free stuff.
  2. Guns.

We’re not going to dwell on the first one. But I will say that everyone ultimately falls into a woe-is-me category. It’s guns that drive the whiners crazy.

Gun Crises in Chicago and New Jersey

“We have a crisis!” screams former mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. Noting that Illinois already has some of the toughest gun laws in America, he and current Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot point fingers at neighboring states.

In 2017, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “Nearly 60 percent of guns recovered in Chicago come from out-of-state dealers … 20 percent traced back to Indiana, according to a newly released report on the city’s violence.” Weapons were also traced to Mississippi, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas. The city’s violence has now reached epic proportions — despite draconian gun laws.

A large kitchen knife stading point-first in a pool of red substance meant to simulate blood.

“Welcome to Chicago. It isn’t our fault.” (Photo by Rick Sapp)

New Jersey reports the same situation. Guns from outside the state are sneaking into Trenton and Newark and Princeton. More than three-quarters of the guns used in crimes in New Jersey came from outside its borders, says Gov. Phil Murphy (D). And New Jersey isn’t far behind Illinois in imposing strict, even harsh, gun-control measures.

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So-Called Gun Solutions

These two examples suggest that the people, the citizens, want guns and are willing to break the law to have them. Indeed, they suggest a healthy commerce in firearms even though some of it is off-the-books. Thus, full-time fault-finders like Emanuel and Lightfoot and Murphy generally propose these “fixes:”

  1. Harassing legitimate businesses: Emanuel wants a statewide Gun Dealer Licensing bill, mirroring Chicago’s “model gun dealer” ordinance. This would hire more petty bureaucrats and eventually drive up the cost of a gun.
  2. Closing the loophole: Emanuel wants comprehensive, mandatory background checks, even on — or especially on — private firearms sales. Both federal and state law require background checks at licensed dealers. Illinois also mandates that all sellers, regardless of setting, check a person’s Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card prior to completing the transaction. But Emanuel would outlaw the independent sale or gift of firearms.
  3. Increased punishments: Emanuel wants more-effective enforcement and harsher punishment for citizens who fail to report lost or stolen firearms. The law currently requires reporting a lost or stolen firearm within 72 hours. Failure to do so is a petty offense under the current law, which he says is too lenient. He suggests fines and jail.
  4. Your name on a list: Last, but certainly not least, Emanuel wants a national firearms registration system. It’s a way, he says, to track lawful firearms transfers before a weapon enters the secondary illegal market. According to Emanuel, this would “provide an invaluable tool” to state police.

And, of course, people like Emanuel and Lightfoot and Murphy complain that nearby states have firearms laws that are far less restrictive than their own. The reason so many of Chicago’s residents are murdered and mugged, beaten and burgled isn’t because of a rotten culture. It’s because of Indiana and Wisconsin or Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky.

About Rick Sapp

Rick Sapp earned his Ph.D. in social anthropology after his time in the U.S. Army working for the 66th Military Intelligence Group, USAREUR, during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Following his time in Paris, France, he worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing. Along with being published in several newspapers and magazines, Rick has authored more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.


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