There have been over 500 murders in Chicago this year, a great many of which were committed by criminals who ignored the decades old handgun ban (plus the laws against carrying a loaded gun and committing murder). Rather than recognizing that more gun laws won’t stop the violence, and that the true causes of crime must be addressed, Jessie Jackson Sr. took this opportunity to push for more pointless gun laws – which would only disarm law abiding citizens and leave them more vulnerable to the gun-ban-ignoring criminals:
Jessie Jackson’s “Action Plan” called for several measures that defy logic, and would not have any effect upon criminals, but would make it harder for law abiding citizens to defend themselves against violent criminals:
Require universal background checks on every gun transfer
This is an attempt to play on fears over the non-existent “gun show loophole,” in order to ban the private transfer of guns. Illinois law already requires that if one private citizen wishes to sell a gun to another private citizen, both citizens mush have valid FOID cards. Since the police run background checks on FOID card holders every single day, and revoke the FOID card of anyone who fails the daily background check, this means that anyone who is lawfully transferring a gun underwent a background check that very day. Instead, banning private transfers of guns would only serve to make it harder for law abiding citizens to exercise their right to buy and have a gun for self defense. Combine a ban on private transfers with the trend of trying to financially harm and/or close down lawful gun stores, and it would be quite difficult for a citizen to legally buy a gun. More information about this non-existent loophole can be seen here.
Regulate the trafficking of illegal guns
This idea doesn’t even make sense. By definition, the trafficking of illegal guns is already regulated – that is why they are called illegal guns. Given the multiple felonies that illegal gun traffickers already face, I sincerely doubt that adding yet another law will deter these criminals. Mr. Jackson, please take note: Criminals ignore the law, and that is what makes them criminals. Passing another law won’t change that fact, any more than having a law against murder prevents that crime from being committed. Instead, another law would just add new technicalities that are not related to crime prevention, but could instead lead to law abiding citizens being ensnared in the confusing mesh of anti gun laws. In fact, this reminds of a recent story in the The Onion that addressed “super-illegalizing.”
Restrict military-style assault weapons in civilian hands
Here, Jessie Jackson plays on the public’s lack of information about so-called “assault weapons.” The fact is that such weapons are no more deadly than any other gun, and are only defined by the presence of certain safety and cosmetic features. Most importantly, these are not “military style” weapons, as they are semi-automatic, while true military weapons are fully automatic. Also, criminals use such guns in fewer than 1% of all crimes. This is because criminals prefer a cheap and easily concealed handgun over an approximately 3 foot long rifle that costs $1,500 and is very difficult to hide. Trying to ban so-called assault weapons only serves to make gun laws more confusing and harder for ordinary citizens to understand, while simultaneously taking important safety features (such as barrel shrouds) out of the hands of gun owners.
Prohibit all violent criminals from possessing firearms
Convicted felons are already barred from possessing firearms, as are those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors. There are already laws in place that prohibit violent people (and many non-violent people) from owning guns, but such laws don’t stop violent people from having a gun or committing their crimes. It would seem that this part of Mr. Jackson’s “action plan” is nothing more than an attempt at fear mongering, by making uninformed citizens think that it is currently lawful for violent criminals to own a gun.
Apply consumer product safety standards and childproof safety features to all firearms
This “action plan” item is a call for guns that would be less reliable for self defense, and too expensive for a great many people to afford. The proper solution to unintentional shootings is safe and responsible gun storage, not expensive and unproven technology that could prevent a gun from firing when a crime victim is trying to defend themselves. I discuss the problem of “smart guns” in much greater detail here.
A tip of my hat to The War on Guns.