Few, if any, gun owners would disagree with more police on the streets or stiffer penalties for criminals who use guns. However, we all have seen surveys that claim gun owners support a proposal based on a couple of pieces such as these when in fact the anti gun forces are proposing something much more insidious. Chicago’s latest Gun Trace report may be just such as a strategy, but that is for the reader’s to decide. Here is the reading and analysis from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, issued the following statement.
Gun Trace Report 2017 issued at the direction of the Chicago Mayor’s Office outlines a comprehensive public safety strategy, certain elements of which the firearms industry would endorse including increasing the number of police officers on the street and tough sentences for criminals who use guns. The bulk of the report, however, starts from a purposely misleading premise and represents what we have heard before as a political narrative from the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
As to the premise, a tracing request is simply a law enforcement tool. As the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ATF has repeatedly stated, “The appearance of [a licensed dealer] or a first unlicensed purchaser of record in association with a crime gun or in association with multiple crime guns in no way suggests that either the federal firearms licensed dealer (FFL) or the first purchaser has committed criminal acts. Rather, such information may provide a starting point for further and more detailed investigation.” (Crime Gun Trace Analysis Reports, ATF, 1998).
Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are already heavily regulated. Additional laws on the state level would be redundant and burdensome without doing anything to enhance public safety, only serving to impede the lawful commerce in firearms and ultimately affecting only law-abiding citizens.
The areas of Chicago affected by the criminal misuse of firearms are under siege from criminal cartel and gang activity involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs. Even when apprehended and convicted, these repeat criminals are often treated leniently by the criminal justice system. Taking criminals off the street is the only way to stem this violence.
Chicago already has some of the most stringent gun control regulations in the country and, clearly, criminals are not complying with the laws. More laws won’t work to change criminal behavior.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, on behalf of the firearms industry, recently concluded an impactful “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” anti-straw purchasing public awareness campaign using radio, billboards, transit advertising and social media messaging in the Chicagoland area (the second such campaign in five years) at the request of and in coordination with ATF. Several area law enforcement organizations participated in a public event to launch that campaign. It is indicative of the political narrative pursued by Mayor Emmanuel that no representative of the City of Chicago or the Chicago Police was present for that event.
Chicago has a serious criminal violence problem in portions of the city. It is not emblematic of the nation, nor even of Chicago, overall. We applaud the initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions to bring more federal resources to bear in Chicago. We call on all levels of law enforcement and all segments of the community to work together. It is patently wrong for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to use the framework of this report in a false narrative to again blame the firearms industry for problems that require great political will to address.