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Charlie T Waite

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  1. With the renewed push by the federal government for an assault weapons ban, we couldn’t help but wonder, just how often are assault rifles really to blame for crimes? More specifically, how often are they used as murder weapons when compared to all of the other types of weapons available? Using FBI homicide statistics from the 2019 Crime in the United States report, the insights team at the Joslyn Law Firm charted out how often different types of weapons were used in homicides in the U.S.. Of the 16,425 homicides that occurred in 2019, the FBI was able to collect supplemental data for 13,922 of them, which is what our data is based on. The weapon types are broken down into the different types of firearms: handguns, rifles, shotguns, and a category for homicides in which the type of firearm was unknown. It also compares the number of homicides that were committed by non-firearm weapons such as knives or cutting instruments as well as bodily weapons, which include people’s hands, fists, and feet. Non-firearm weapons were used for one-quarter of all homicides in the United States. Would a ban on assault rifles actually help to curb the violence? With rifles being a relatively uncommon type of weapon used in homicides in the United States, an assault rifle ban may not make much difference when it comes to the number of murders that occur. Homicides are overwhelmingly committed using handguns; they were found to be the most common murder weapon for nearly half of all homicides in the United States in 2019. Even hands, fists, and feet are used to commit homicide almost twice as often as a rifle is. An NIH study that investigated the levels of criminal activity committed with assault weapons or other high-capacity semiautomatics also found that these types of weapons are only being used in a small percentage of crimes: “Assault weapons (primarily assault-type rifles) account for 2–12% of guns used in crime in general (most estimates suggest less than 7%).” Wouldn’t all of the time, money, and resources being used to push for an assault rifle ban be better used elsewhere, such as creating a better mental health-care system that is accessible to those that need it most? Which Type of Weapon Is Most Commonly Used for Homicides? Handguns were found to be the most common weapon used for homicides, used in 45.7% of homicides committed nationwide. Since nearly a quarter of homicides used an unknown type of firearm, this percentage is likely to be even higher in actuality. The next category on the list is non-firearms that fall under the “other weapons” category, including things like blunt objects, poison, explosives, fire, and narcotics, used in 11.4% of homicides. This was followed by knives and other cutting instruments, used in 10.6% of all homicides. So how often are firearms actually used for murder overall? In total, they were used in three-quarters of all homicides, a very low percentage of which were committed with assault-style rifles. The Weapons Most Commonly Used for Homicides in the United States Handguns: 45.7% Firearms (Type Unknown): 23.9% Other Weapons: 11.4% Knives or Cutting Instruments: 10.6% Hands, Fists, Feet, Etc.: 4.3% Rifles: 2.6% Shotguns: 1.4% How Often Are Assault Rifles Used in Homicides? For how dangerous they are made out to be, assault rifles were not found to be used in homicides very often. Rifles were the weapon of choice in only 2.6% of the homicides that occurred in the United States in 2019, far lower than the 45.7% of homicides that were committed using a handgun. And even though nearly a quarter of homicides were committed using an unknown type of firearm, it’s safe to assume that handguns probably made up a large majority of that number as well. Even if a ban on assault weapons was enacted, it wouldn’t lower the number of assault rifles that are already in the United States, which is currently around the 20 million mark. In Which State Is Each Type of Weapon Most Commonly Used in Homicides? Using the 2019 Crime in the United States data, we also created a state-by-state breakdown of the percentage of murders using each weapon. For each type of weapon, we also tallied the ten states where it was used in the highest percentage of homicides. Which states were found to use each type of weapon the most in homicides? Maryland was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using handguns at 75.1%. Vermont was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using rifles at 18.18%. Maine was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using shotguns at 15%. Delaware was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using unknown types of firearms at 56.3%. Rhode Island was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using knives or cutting instruments at 28%. Idaho was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using other weapons at 37.1%. Vermont was found to have the highest percentage of homicides using hands, fists, feet, etc. at 18.2%. Where Are Rifles Used the Most Often in Homicides? When comparing the gun crime statistics between states, we found that Vermont has the highest percentage of homicides committed using a rifle at 18.18%, although the state’s murder statistics showed that the number of homicides using hands, fists, feet, etc. was nearly equal to the number of those committed using a rifle. Vermont has the third lowest murder rate in the country, with just 1.8 homicides per 100,000 people, so these seemingly large percentages only make up a small number of homicides. What other initiatives do you believe the government should take to curb gun violence, aside from an assault weapons ban that may not make much difference in the long run? https://www.criminalattorneycolumbus.com/which-weapons-are-most-commonly-used-for-homicides/
  2. I want to talk a little bit about Biden pulling the nomination of David Chipman for the Director of the ATF. I don’t want to talk so much about the actual pulling of the nomination. I want to speak on the media’s response to it being pulled, and I want to pull the curtain back a little bit and show you how anti-gun advocacy groups and the mainstream media cross paths. You can’t help but noticed the narrative about the Chipman nomination being pulled that is being peddled in the mainstream media’s talking points all looks the same. If you caught that you would not be wrong. It does look the same. The narrative isn’t that Chipman was a terrible nominee. Or he was a partisan hack. It wasn’t that Chipman has a history of making racist comments about other special agents. And it wasn’t that Chipman was so incompetent at his job that he might have lost his duty gun. According to the mainstream media, the gun lobby’s power forced Senators not to support the Chipman nomination. It was that somehow the gun lobby got Democrats to pull their support for Chipman? According to these reports, Chipman was a dedicated and exceptional former ATF Special agent that only cared about stopping violence. These mainstream media pendants report that Chipman would have been a perfect ATF Director. Now don’t get me wrong. The gun lobby (you and me) did have a lot to do with getting Biden to pull the Chipman nomination once it became clear he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed. But it was not because the gun lobby (you and me) made up some false narrative about Chipman. The gun lobby (you and me) just shined a light on all the issues of the Chipman nomination. My grandmother used to say that sunlight was the best disinfectant, and the Chipman nomination process showed why that statement still rings true. So how do these so-called journalists all get fed the same wrong conclusion? What happens is anti-gun groups send out talking points and press releases to friendly media sources. A Lot of times, anti-gun groups make phone calls to reporters, they send out emails. These anti-gun groups help the mainstream media shape the narrative. Let’s be honest. Groups like Everytown and Moms Demand Action are run more like a corporate PR agency rather than an advocacy group made up of real Americans. Their bankrolls put ours to shame. They can hire ad agencies and consultants to get their message out. Plus, most in the mainstream media fall on their side of the fence of the gun debate. The biggest reason is that mainstream journalists are under immense pressure to hit deadlines, and here comes someone willing to hand over something that would complete 90% of their work. There is no need to look up stats or facts. Even the quotes are right there. All they have to do is rephrase the release or talking points here or there. The anti-gun gun groups aren’t going to publicize that these reporters plagiarized them. In fact, they want the media to plagiarize them. That is how they can control the narrative. We live in a 24-hour media cycle. Media outlets want to be first or as close to first as possible to break a story. Instead of these journalists doing their own research, they just take what is given to them at face value. The gun lobby to them is the boogeyman. Let’s give them what they want. Since you and I are in the gun lobby, let’s be the boogeyman. We can’t compete solely by providing money to gun rights groups, although that does help. Our side doesn’t have billionaires funding our efforts to defend gun rights. But we have something they don’t have. We have a true grassroots community of passionate gun owners. What scares a politician is a pissed-off constituency. Their grassroots efforts are AstroTurf. All they have is smoke and mirrors. Our power is in our grassroots efforts. They want to hold onto power, and that is where we come in to push them in the right direction. This is a Digital War & We Are Winning! The meme is a powerful weapon. We need to keep hitting back on social media with forceful comments, your hardest-hitting memes, and citizen journalism to expose their lies and inform our friends and family of the truth. All to counteract the anti-gun groups’ lies and spin that infects the mainstream fake-news media. We need to engage with people one on one and explain the stance of the gun-rights community. We have the power to shape the narrative in the minds of those around us, and we need to use that power. Thease paid simballs are trying to control the narrative, and we won’t let them do that. https://www.ammoland.com/2021/09/anti-gun-slimeballs-control-biased-mainstream-media/#axzz76aAFXuSM
  3. “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” ~Attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher, and Orator, in a speech he gave to the Roman Senate in 58 BC as ‘Recorded by Sallust’ in the fictional novel ‘A Pillar of Iron,’ by Taylor Caldwell (1983), ch. 5. ~The quotation bears resemblance to Cicero’s Second Oration in the Cataline war (circa 40 b.c.) Under Biden’s reign, Americans are quickly losing their fundamental rights and liberties. They have already lost any vestige of a fundamental right of privacy as protected under the Unreasonable Searches and Seizures clause of the Fourth Amendment. And the Right of free speech under the First Amendment is, as well, under tremendous assault today. And let us not forget the assault on the right of the people to keep and bear arms as codified in the Second Amendment. For without the citizenry’s exercise of the Fundamental Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, the exercise of all other Rights is tenuous at best or becomes altogether illusory, leading inevitably, inexorably to subjugation. Americans already see that Biden, and his fellow Progressive and Neo-Marxist Democrats in Congress, and legions of unelected bureaucrats of the Administrative Deep State have made substantial inroads curtailing the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But the question is: Do these assaults on sacred Rights truly rise to the level of treason, well beyond the federal crimes of sedition, insurrection, and rebellion, awful as they are? How can the public know? And, if treason does exist, and if the polity shows Republicans in Congress that Biden and/or several of his senior advisors have committed treason, how can Americans persuade their Representatives in the House and their Senators in the U.S. Senate to hold those high-level elected officials and high level unelected military people accountable beyond merely requesting they simply and humbly resign, as some have averred. How can Americans make a cogent argument to legislators so that they will undertake or at least attempt to undertake impeachment of Biden and/or his senior advisors? And for senior officers in the military, how can the public urge that these military advisors be subject to a General Court Martial. The words, ‘treason’ and ‘traitor’ are often cavalierly bandied about. The American public has heard it all before, many times, mostly directed to Donald Trump and, by association, directed to all Americans who voted for him or who supported and who continue to support his “Make America Great Again” agenda. Few people in American history, though, have been charged with “treason” and fewer are ever convicted of it. That fact underscores the deadly seriousness of the import of the words despite the oft offhanded use of them and says much of the true and dire purpose of and hidden motives of those forces that have used the word, ‘treason,’ incessantly against Trump. And many are those who leveled the charge of treason against the 45th President, Donald Trump. Upon taking the Oath of Office, well-placed operators in the Department of Justice and FBI and in the military and in the intelligence apparatuses of Government, and in Congress, in academia and in the media, and even some individuals closest to Trump in his own Administration went immediately to work to undermine and sabotage and destroy his Presidency from its very inception to the final days. See, e.g., New York Times article. and an article in The Atlantic. Government, academia, the Press, social media, all operated, in concert—components of an extraordinarily elaborate, well-organized, well-executed series of false flag operations—all designed to bring about Trump’s downfall. And, considering the extent to which these operators plotted to bring about Trump’s downfall, one is led to conclude either that Trump did indeed pose the greatest internal threat ever to befall our Nation, or, like Horatius at the Bridge, protected our Nation, standing alone against the hordes both within the Government and outside it who themselves truly pose the greatest and gravest threat ever to befall our free Constitutional Republic. Calling a person a “traitor” serves as a handy propagandist tool and it is one that is employed for the emotional reaction it is expected to elicit in the American public for the purpose of creating animus toward a person, but often, as well, as a distraction to direct public attention to the innocent person and thereby draw attention away from the real “traitor.” “The crime of treason carries an emotional response unlike any other. Its severity is second to none because one who commits treason aims to support the enemies his government, betray his own nation, and wage war against his own people. Infamous traitors such as Benedict Arnold conjure a near-unanimous feeling of disdain and anger amongst Americans, while others like John Brown do not so easily create the same uniform negative perception. Such is the nature of treason: those convicted of betraying their nation receive the designation of ‘traitor,’ arguably the most severe, polarizing, and stigmatic title law can provide, which may partially explain why the last case of treason occurred in 1952.” ~ from the law review article, “Treason In The Age Of Terrorism: Do Americans Who Join Isis ‘Levy War’ Against The United States?” 9 Am. U. Nat’l Sec. L. Brief 155 (2019) by Stephen Jackson, J.D., Senior Policy Analyst with SAIC. But, when do the words ‘traitor’ and ‘treason’ merely function as expletives and when do they function as true descriptors, indicative of the worst sort of criminal behavior of an American? It is one thing for a person to employ the words ‘treason’ and ‘traitor’ merely as a pejorative. In that case, “You Traitor, You!” is akin to the words, “Damn You, Go to Hell!” or “You Bastard, You!” But it is another thing entirely when the phrase, “You Traitor, You!” is to mean that the targeted person is truly a “Traitor,” i.e., a person who commits the crime of ‘Treason.’ For ‘Treason’ is a crime. Treason is the most serious of crimes, for Treason is nothing less than Betrayal of one’s Country and of one’s people. It is essentially the MURDER of one’s Country and of one’s Countrymen. Betrayal of one’s Nation and one’s Countrymen was considered one of the most heinous crimes going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Dante Alighieri, in his monumental epic, “The Divine Comedy,” placed those guilty of treachery to nation in the deepest circle of hell. To apply the term, ‘traitor’ to anyone is no small matter and should not be a matter of casual conversation. It is defamatory if untrue. As applied especially to an elected official, no less a personage than the President of the United States, one should practice circumspection before employing it, in the absence of evidence to support the declaration of it. Unfortunately, we do not see this at all. And, it is all quite remarkable, as the denizens of “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS,”—today’s “THOUGHT POLICE”—so keen are they on remaking the English language so as not to offend, do not apply that prime directive across the board, utilizing the worst invective against anyone, everyone, who happens to hold to a different political and philosophical persuasion than that of the “WOKE” crowd to use of their own neologisms. To our Nation’s founders, treason is the most serious crime imaginable. It is not by accident that it is referenced in the U.S. Constitution. Treason is the only crime BOTH MENTIONED AND DEFINED in the U.S. Constitution. But, through overuse and deliberate misuse of the words, ‘treason’ and ‘traitor,’ by various members of Congress and by Government Officials and by the Press, Americans are unable to gain a clear view of and true perspective of actual instances of treason and of the those who commit it when evidence for it abounds. A person needs to cut through the chatter and chaff of those who cavalierly bandy the term about, misapplying it hither and yon to Donald Trump—and, now misapplying it to Trump’s supporters who number one-third to likely much more than one-half of the population of the Country. The term, ‘treason’ is a legal term of art that has a clear meaning. One need only go to a readily available source, the U.S. Constitution, to determine its import and purport, and from the definition for it, look for instances of it. Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1, sets forth: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.” Further, ‘treason,’ as with ‘sedition,’ ‘insurrection,’ and ‘rebellion’, is a statutory offense, Congress reiterates the definition of ‘treason,’ of it. “18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason,” sets forth: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” Given the seriousness of the crime, the framers of the Constitution severely limited its application to the commission of either one of two, and only two, kinds of acts. The U.S. Constitution leaves no room for constructive treason and Congress could not and has not undertaken to restrict or enlarge constitutional. The Constitutional, as well as Statutory definition for Treason, involves: Levying war against the United States; OR Giving the Nation’s enemies aid or comfort. But what does “levying war against the United States” really mean, and what does the phrase “giving the Nation’s enemies aid or comfort” mean?
  4. A federal judge rejected a Connecticut police officer’s request for qualified immunity after he arrested a man for carrying his legally processed gun. Basel Soukaneh was driving his Kia Sorento in a high crime area in Waterbury, Connecticut, when the GPS on his iPhone froze up. The neighborhood is well-known for prostitution and drugs. Soukaneh pulled over his car to try to fix his phone that was in a phone holder. Officer David Andrzejewski noticed the stopped vehicle and started a traffic stop. Officer Andrzejewski knocked on Mr. Soukaneh’s window. When Soukaneh rolled down the window and said “hi” to the officer, Soukaneh claimed that Andrzejewski screamed at him for his license. Soukaneh handed the police officer his license and gun permit. He informed Andrzejewski that he had a legally owned and carried pistol in the car with him. The cop grabbed Soukaneh and forcibly removed him from his Kia, and threw him on the ground. Mr. Soukaneh claims that Officer Andrzejewski demanded that he tell the officer where the prostitute and drugs were located. The officer searched Soukaneh pulled out pills from the man’s pocket. The officer thought he found illicit drugs. In reality, what the officer discovered was Soukaneh’s nitroglycerin pills for his heart condition. In addition to the heart medication, the officer seized the $320 in cash plus a flash drive that contained pictures and videos of Soukaneh’s deceased father. Neither the flash drive nor the money was returned to Soukaneh. The officer Handcuffed Soukaneh and threw him in the back of his police car. Soukaneh, who suffers from a bad back, screamed in pain. According to court records, the officer grabbed the handcuffs and jerked them, causing Soukaneh to be trapped in a position where he was partially on the floor of the back of the police cruiser, unable to see. Officer Andrzejewski ran Soukaneh’s gun permit and found it to be valid. Shortly after, another officer and a sergeant arrived on the scene. Andrzejewski asked the two what he should “write him up for.” The sergeant told Andrzejewski what to write into the computer system. Officer Andrzejewski claims that the initial stop was justified because he had “reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity.” He further states that the search of the vehicle and Soukaneh himself was based on probable cause. The officer claims that Soukaneh telling him that he was armed with a legally owned firearm with a valid permit was the probable cause needed to search the man and his vehicle. Mr. Soukaneh is claiming that Officer Andrzejewski violated his Fourth Amendment rights by illegally searching him and his vehicle. He claims that the police officer didn’t have “reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity” to initiate the stop and that Officer Andrzejewski didn’t have probable cause for the search. Officer Andrzejewski claims he is “entitled to qualified immunity because any violated rights were not clearly established.” According to the courts, “Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about legal questions.” United States District Court, D. Connecticut Judge Janet Bond Arterton agreed that Officer Andrzejewski had reasonable suspicion due to the area where Soukaneh stopped his car. But Judge Arterton found that Officer Andrzejewski did not have probable cause to search Soukaneh’s car and person. Moreover, Judge Bond Arterton stripped Andrzejewski of qualified immunity. The Judge said, “no reasonable officer could believe probable cause was present.” According to Judge Bond Arterton, just because Soukaneh had a gun, it did not give the officer the right to act the way he did. The Judge said that any contrary holding “would eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed individuals.” Mr. Soukaneh’s lawsuit against Officer Andrzejewski will be allowed to continue.
  5. Eleven-year-old Vanessa Noble with 9mm Ruger P89, On Target Shooting Range, Laguna Niguel, California 1996Credit: Nancy Floyd, courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Photography This kid could be me. “American Epidemic: Guns in the United States,” which opened last weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, includes Nancy Floyd’s She’s Got a Gun—a series of portraits of gun-toting women with short wall text quotes from interviews with them. One is a smiling 11-year-old target shooter with her finger on the trigger of a 9mm pistol. She says “Lindsay,” six years old and presumably her sister, is shooting a .22. They love it. I can relate, sort of. I got my own .22 when I was nine. But it wasn’t only for target practice. Like many men of his generation, my father hunted for sport. The prey were wild things—pheasants and deer. We flushed birds from autumn cornfields so that humans with guns could attempt to blow their brains out. Don’t call it gun violence. Guns are always violent. And it’s always hunting season in Chicago. So far this year, more than 3,000 people have been shot in the city; last weekend alone, according to the Chicago Police Department, there were 40 shooting incidents and 60 firearm victims. MoCP curator Karen Irvine says the museum team has been actively working on this exhibit for more than three years, but had the subject on their to-do list for much longer. “We have a social justice-focused mission,” she told me, and COVID-19 has made it even more pressing: “People are compiling arsenals now; gun sales are up.” Irvine’s exhibit essay cites some of the stunning statistics: Guns kill about 40,000 Americans every year, and are the weapon employed in 73 percent of American homicides. While research shows that “the very presence of a gun” increases the risk of gun injury (including accidents and suicides), the U.S. leads the world in private gun ownership, “with approximately 120 firearms per 100 residents.” That’s more than 100 percent higher than the runners-up, violence-torn Yemen and Serbia. Behind the statistics, Irvine notes, is a national love affair with guns that began in the colonial period and runs through cowboy movies and concepts of masculinity, to manifest in current ideologies of individual freedom and lax control laws—in spite of the fact that, for example, “the average firearm homicide rate in states without background checks is 58 percent higher than the average in states with background checks in place.” The rationale for this mayhem is an anachronistic one-sentence amendment to the Constitution, written before the existence of a standing national army and intended to ensure that the nation would have an equipped military force if it needed one. Here is the Second Amendment, in its entirety: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The gun lobby and the National Rifle Association, both funded by the gun industry, want you to believe that this sentence gives just about any American the right to walk into a coffee shop or grocery store, or cruise a city street, packing. “American Epidemic: Guns in the United States” Through 2/20/22, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago, 600 S. Michigan. Free; masks and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required; reservations recommended; mocp.org. The MoCP show features work by ten artists, most of it dependent on text or context for impact. It ranges from a quilt made of fabric squares cut from old police officers’ uniforms (Carolyn Drake’s One thousand and four Americans were killed by police officers in 2019) to a stop-action video that has G.I. Joe figures reenacting an actual murder (Winter in America, by Hank Willis Thomas and Kambui Olujimi). The most powerful piece is Stephen Foster’s Libation, a video tribute to Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, an 11-year-old Chicago gang shooting victim, with a soundtrack of Sandifer’s grandmother’s searing, visceral screams at his funeral. Also powerful: Andres Gonzalez’s booklet of four presidential speeches related to four mass murders at schools (an addition to his American Origami project). The murders span a 20-year period, from 1999 to 2018, but the presidents all say essentially the same thing: “let go of hate,” “overcome evil with good,” “I come to offer love and prayers.” Meanwhile nothing changes. We can’t even get a national assault weapon ban reinstated, or a director appointed at the national Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Nothing we’ve been doing for the last 20 years and more has worked, which gives rise to a question: Why not just get rid of guns? Why not make them, like other destructive explosive devices, illegal? I put that question to Vanderbilt University professor and psychiatrist Jonathan Metzl, who’ll lecture at the museum October 6. His 2019 book, Dying of Whiteness, explores how racism figures into the gun control debate and has driven middle America whites to vote for politicians and policies that actually work against their own interests. He wasn’t encouraging. “Guns represent freedom and liberty for a lot of people; these attitudes are hardwired,” he said. The chances we’ll get rid of guns right now? “Zero. Sad but true.” UIC professor emeritus and criminologist John Hagedorn also told me that eliminating guns now is “a bridge too far.” Though if we could, he said, the homicide rate, in some Chicago neighborhoods among the highest in the world, would drop drastically. Both of these experts see a parallel in issues around COVID. “People think telling them to wear a mask infringes their rights,” Hagedorn says. “They say, ‘You want to make me wear a mask today, and you’re going to come and take my guns away tomorrow.’ It’s an incredibly individualist culture where ‘my rights trump your right to live.’ “But the pandemic is raising these cultural issues across the country. People are seeing how bizarre that is. Your rights don’t mean you can take my rights away, take my life away. It really is analogous. There‘s some hope in that.” https://chicagoreader.com/columns-opinion/on-culture/out-of-our-cold-dead-hands/
  6. The City of Portland, Oregon, its Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt are named as defendants in a $13 million federal lawsuit filed by the family of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was fatally shot on a downtown street Aug. 29, 2020, of last year by a self-proclaimed Antifa member during last summer’s unrest. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The suspect in that murder, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was shot dead by law enforcement officers less than a week later in Lacey, Washington, about 150 miles north of the Rose City. There were conflicting reports about whether he was armed at the time. Earlier this year, the Thurston County, Washington Sheriff’s Department concluded its investigation of the fatal shooting and concluded Reinoehl “initiated” the exchange of gunfire. He was armed with a .380-caliber pistol, which was found in his pocket, but there was a single spent casing found in the vehicle in which he was seated. According to the Portland Oregonian, Danielson was killed following a pro-Trump rally. The newspaper said “a ‘hands-off approach’ to political demonstrations and counter-protests in Portland fostered a “culture of vigilante policing” between opposing factions that filled the void and led to the killing.” By remarkable coincidence, a man identified as Justin Dunlap was nearby live streaming the nightly protests and captured the shooting on video. A gunman can clearly be seen from the rear, and two shots are audible, and there is a visible muzzle flash and what appears to be a cloud of spray that another video appears to show Danielson releasing. The suspect immediately races away and Danielson can be seen staggering a few steps before collapsing. Ironically, Portland is where most of the Beaver State’s gun control extremism originates. In a narrative found at Wikipedia, Danielson was reportedly holding a can of bear spray and an expandable metal baton. One of the two shots fired allegedly hit the can, releasing the spray. The other bullet struck Danielson in the chest. Wikipedia also noted that at the time of the shooting, Reinoehl “was wanted for failing to appear in court for a June 2020 speed racing case.” When police arrested him in that incident, they found a loaded pistol in the car for which Reinoehl did not have a license. In July 2020, Reinoehl was shot in the arm during an altercation in Portland, in which he had intervened. One of the people in that altercation was armed, according to the report, and there may have been a scuffle over control of the gun. Earlier, on July 5, 2020 he had been arrested in Portland for “for resisting arrest, interfering with an officer and possession of a loaded firearm in a public place,” according to NPR. Oregon Public Broadcasting earlier this year posted a collage of videos, taken from different angles, that show both Reinoehl and Danielson walking near an intersection. Reinoehl can be seen crossing the street ahead of the approaching Danielson, and then moving into a parking garage, reaching into a pocket, emerging and coming out behind Danielson. Reinoehl appears to have been watching Danielson pass. Danielson moves into the street. Reinoehl appears to have circled around to move ahead of Danielson and the deadly confrontation erupts. Last year in Portland, the Police Bureau logged 55 homicides, according to the Portland Oregonian/Oregon Live. That surpassed Seattle, Washington—another liberal Pacific Northwest city where, like Portland, 2020 saw violent protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd while being restrained by police in Minneapolis, and local officials have taken what many critics see as a soft-on-crime, hard-on-police approach to public safety—where more than 200 officers left the force over the past 16 months and there were 52 murders. According to KOIN News in Portland, as of Aug. 22, there had been 60 homicides, which puts the Rose City on track for setting a new murder record. It’s a stark contrast from the city’s traditional image as a laid-back bastion of liberalism in Oregon. The multi-million-dollar lawsuit reportedly alleges Portland police officers “were instructed to avoid involvement in disputes between opposing political groups,” according to Fox News. But last year saw “violent clashes” between groups more than once. The lawsuit, said the Oregonian, seeks $1.5 million in economic damages, another $1.5 million in “non-economic” damages, and up to $10 million in punitive damages. On Aug. 22 there was another “clash” between opposing groups during which the city reportedly used a “hands-off approach” which Wheeler subsequently acknowledged was “not the right strategy,” Fox News reported. Nobody was shot, but some participants were reportedly armed with baseball bats and paintball guns. Police reportedly “monitored” the confrontation from an airplane!? https://www.ammoland.com/2021/09/13m-lawsuit-filed-against-portland-mayor-wheeler-slaying-trump-backer/#axzz76fnmas3f
  7. And yet all too often that’s exactly what it takes. Consider the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was recently sued by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League over ungodly delays in accepting gun permit applications. Not processing them, mind you. Accepting them. Applicants have been waiting for months just to submit their paperwork, and in the meantime, it’s a crime for them to possess a gun in their home, much less carry one on the street. Well, guess what happened after the CCDL filed suit? Suddenly Bridgeport’s police department figured out a way for residents to submit their applications in a matter of days and not months. Last week, the Bridgeport Police Department contacted Bridgeport residents to whom it previously gave lengthy wait times, and offered them faster dates to submit applications, including later this month. “Bridgeport’s about-face is clearly the result of CCDL’s lawsuit, and another victory for law abiding citizens across Connecticut,” said Holly Sullivan, CCDL president. “Bridgeport residents have been suffering inordinately long wait times just to apply for a permit. Months ago, we reached out to the city and asked it to bring its permitting system in line with the law, warning that if it did not, CCDL would be forced to take legal action. It is unfortunate that Bridgeport’s continued violations of state law and its residents’ constitutional rights, forced CCDL to file suit. Hopefully, this is a sign that the Bridgeport Police Department will follow the law going forward. However, while it appears lawful Bridgeport residents can now apply for firearms permits in a timely manner, we will be watching how long it takes the city to process those applications, which has also been an ongoing problem there.” Yeah, that’s another issue entirely. And it’s important to note that while Bridgeport has reversed course, so far there’s been no word from officials in Hartford, New Have, or Waterbury; three other cities sued by CCDL at the same time the case was brought against Bridgeport. This is not an isolated incident. Across the country would-be gun owners in states and localities with gun permitting and licensing laws in place are going through the same infringement of their civil rights when the authorities responsible for issuing the licenses and permits fail to do so in the time allotted to them by law. These laws are utterly toothless, however, because there are no consequences when the state or its political subdivisions fail to abide by them. If you keep a gun in your home in Chicago without a FOID card, you could be looking at prison time. If you work for the Illinois State Police, on the other hand, you can take 12 months to process a FOID card application even though you’re supposed to do so within 30 days, and you won’t even get a “less than satisfactory” score on your next employee evaluation. Right now new FOID card applicants are waiting an average of 194 days before they hear back from the state. It’s taking, again on average, 136 days to process concealed carry applications if you submit your fingerprints. If you don’t submit your fingerprints, you can add another month to your expected wait time. Just as in Connecticut, there are multiple lawsuits underway challenging Illinois’ FOID card delays, along with litigation in North Carolina, Philadelphia, and several other jurisdictions. Some of these cases may be mooted by the time they reach the Supreme Court, but I hope that justices can find a way to address these abuses. Not only does the slow-walking of permit and license applications infringe on individuals’ right to keep and bear arms, it invariably will lead to an increase in illegal carrying by folks who have no desire to commit a violent crime, but want to protect themselves and would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. When the issuing authorities can’t or won’t fulfill their own legal obligations, the only people who suffer are the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are trying to lawfully exercise a right, not the bureaucrats or officials responsible for keeping those rights at arms length. It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to exercise a constitutional right, but as turns out, it takes a lot of them. I’m glad to see so many of these abuses being challenged in court, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that at least five justices will take an interest once these cases eventually find their way to their way to SCOTUS’s doorstep.
  8. We’ve routinely reported that Americans are buying an impressive amount of firearms. Many of those purchasers are still first-time gun owners. According to a recent survey from the National Shootings Sports Foundation (NSSF), more than 3.2 million people bought their first gun in the first half of this year. The survey also indicated that the 3.2 million figure makes up roughly a third of the firearms purchased this year; this is based on NSSF estimating a total of about 9.8 million background checks conducted for the sale of a firearm from January to June 2021. “This survey shows that there is a continuing demand signal for firearms from the American public. We witnessed each month background check figures associated with a gun sale that are second only to those we saw in last year’s record-breaking totals. These survey results show not only is there a strong and healthy appetite from first-time gun buyers but that there is still room to grow,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF president and CEO. This trend, along with the consistent sales of firearms, builds upon what started in 2020, a year that saw what NSSF estimates as more than 8.4 million people purchase a firearm for the first time. Of course, these figures come at a time when a global pandemic introduced countless unprecedented challenges, and while our nation’s highest office is occupied by an administration that is staunchly against our right to keep and bear arms. While this year’s numbers might not eclipse the absolutely incredible numbers put up last year, they’re not far off pace, indicating that this increase in first-time buyers—and firearms ownership in general—has not stopped.
  9. Nearly half of the millions of new gun owners since the start of 2019 are women, according to new data from the 2021 National Firearms Survey. The survey, which polled more than 19,000 adults, found that an estimated 3.5 million women became the owner of a firearm for the very first time. Over the same period, approximately 4 million men did the same. This trend comes over a time period in which Americans have been exercising their Second Amendment rights at rates that have never been seen before. Beginning in early 2020, the number of Americans purchasing firearms skyrocketed, and though the trend has somewhat slowed since the turn of the year, it is far from stopping, according to the most-recent data. More than 21 million background checks were conducted for the purchase of a firearm last year, according to data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and many of these sales were reportedly first-time gun owners. One NRA instructor, Rick Ector, holds an annual safety training event for women in Detroit that draws thousands. This past year marked the event’s tenth anniversary, and afterwards, Ector told America’s 1st Freedom: “This event could become a model for others, and I’m eager to see that happen.” Women gun owners can be found all over America and in every demographic; for example, we recently highlighted a little group called the Sunshine Shooting Club, which is comprised of women aged 32 to 76, all of whom practice advanced self-defense scenarios. Nearly a quarter of all women today own at least one firearm, according to recent statistics. Besides the numerous standard training programs for gun owners, the NRA also has a multitude of programs designed specifically for women, including the Refuse To Be A Victim program, the Women’s Wilderness Escape, the Women On Target shooting clinics, and much more. Also check out NRAWomen.com. “NRA Women is a fantastic (and addictive) resource for women shooters, whether they’re interested in hunting, personal safety or competition, and whether they’re already very knowledgeable or are brand-new gun owners,” wrote Mel Dixon, managing editor of America’s 1st Freedom.
  10. The big news went somewhat under the radar this week. There wasn't much coverage of it in major media, but a new estimate puts the number of new gun owners thus far in 2021 well into the millions. Put that together with the 8.4 million Americans estimated to have bought a gun for the first time last year, and the potential effects begin to snowball. This week also saw the remainder of our interview with gun-rights activist Rob Pincus about his against-the-grain style of advocacy and what reforms he thinks should come out of the NRA's recent turmoil. Plus, a collection of Politicos discuss just how vital The Reload's reporting was in President Joe Biden's decision to pull his ATF Director nominee. And we have VCDL President Philip Van Cleave on the podcast to discuss his group's defamation lawsuit against a gun-control group as well as the fast-approaching Virginia elections. Guns for sale at All Shooters Tactical in Woodbridge, Virginia / Stephen Gutowski Industry Survey Finds Millions More First-Time Gun Buyers in 2021 By Jake Fogleman Millions of Americans have already become new gun owners this year, according to a new survey. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a firearms industry trade group, released its latest retailer survey on Thursday. Dealers reported in the survey that roughly 3.2 million people purchased a gun for the first time during the first half of 2021. “We are encouraged by the sustained interest in lawful and responsible gun ownership as well as by the manufacturing base which has been challenged to meet this remarkable demand,” Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO, said in a statement. The survey findings suggest that increased demand among first-time buyers has continued following last year’s record-breaking estimates. The continuation of this trend could have notable political effects when public support for new gun laws has started to decline. The survey found that Americans aged 30 and under were the most represented age group among first-time gun buyers this year. That same age group has also shown the sharpest decline in support for new gun-control measures, according to polling data. Click here to read more. A customer shoots at a gun range / Stephen Gutowski Analysis: What Impact Will Creating 11.6 Million New Gun Owners in a Year and a Half Have? [Member Exclusive] By Stephen Gutowski There's a simple addition equation at the core of the most significant single factor in the future of gun politics: 8.4 + 3.2 = 11.6. That's how many millions of Americans the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates were added to the gun-owning community over the past year and a half. The firearms industry trade group reported late last week its latest dealer survey found 3.2 million first-time buyers were created in the first half of 2021. That's after it estimated there were 8.4 million first-time buyers in 2020 based on its previous survey. If this number is accurate, and there is some question over whether or not it is, it could have monumental impacts in the short and long term. One of the long-term effects is likely to be a shift in American gun politics. As you might imagine, gun owners have historically been less supportive of restrictions on gun ownership and use. With millions more adults (and, therefore, voters) owning guns, it may have an impact on the level of support gun-control measures can expect moving forward. If you're a member, click here to read the full piece. If not, buy your membership today! The entrance to the national headquarters of the ATF / Stephen Gutowski Commentators, DC Insiders Credit The Reload’s Reporting With Major Impact on Biden Decision to Pull ATF Nominee By The Reload Staff Just a few short months after its launch, The Reload is receiving a flood of praise for the impact of its journalism. Commentators, Hill staffers, and activist groups alike spotlighted The Reload‘s exclusive reporting on questions about President Joe Biden’s ATF director nominee over the past week for making “a world of difference” in Biden’s decision to drop his nomination. The Reload recently published a series of stories on allegations that nominee David Chipman made racist remarks and, separately, attempted to torpedo a Black agent’s career over a false claim of cheating the agent claims was racially motivated. The stories also featured former and current ATF agents warning Chipman’s history as a paid gun-control activist would hinder the agency’s ability to work with the firearms industry on criminal cases. A source with knowledge of the fight over Chipman’s appointment in the Senate told The Reload its reporting dug up questions not previously known to the Senators who ultimately blocked him. “The Reload‘s meticulously reported stories made a world of difference,” the source said. “The Dems knew what they were getting with Chipman on the gun issues. Public anger over Chipman’s views on gun control and confiscation wouldn’t sink his nom because Dems were ready to pay that price to get the most extreme gun-control advocates off their backs. But the Reload stories on Chipman’s history of racism, as well as other stories on his bashing America on behalf of Chinese propagandists, raised the political cost way higher than Dems were willing to pay.” The source said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. Ky.), who called for Chipman’s withdrawal while citing a Reload story, used the newly uncovered information to pressure Democratic moderates on the vote. “Leader McConnell was able to use those stories to hit the Dems on two issues that they’re really sensitive about—race relations and weakness on China,” they said. “And it probably killed the nom.” Click here to read the full piece. Rob Pincus speaks to competitors at the first annual Gun Makers Match / Stephen Gutowski Inside the Fight to Reform the NRA: Part 2 of The Reload’s Rob Pincus Interview By Paul Crookston In Part 1 of an expansive interview with The Reload‘s founder Stephen Gutowski, gun-rights advocate Rob Pincus took aim at dogmas he considers misguided in the gun community. He opined on matters of gun training and gun politics, and the second part of the interview gets into the details of what he thinks is wrong with the NRA and how he wants to solve it. As a board member of Save the Second, he has a diagnosis and a prescription for the gun-advocacy giant. Before that, though, Pincus told Gutowski about his vision for 3D printing and homemade guns as a front in the campaign for securing gun rights in the future. Pincus sees immense room for growth in this area and argues it is crucial to the full meaning of the Second Amendment. The following is the second segment of Gutowski’s conversation with Pincus, lightly edited for clarity: To read the interview, click here. Rob Pincus at the first annual Gun Makers Match / Stephen Gutowski A Gadfly and an Influencer: Part 3 of The Reload’s Rob Pincus Interview [Member Exclusive] By Paul Crookston In this final section of his interview with Stephen Gutowski, gun-rights advocate Rob Pincus makes the case that he’s helping by being a gadfly in the gun community. He argues the responsibility of gun owners goes hand-in-hand with their rights, and so it’s critical that gun advocates address tough issues such as negligence. But he also defends himself against the idea that he’s courted controversy or actively tried to irritate others in the gun-rights movement. Rather, he says it’s about policing his own side in order to get results. Pincus has high hopes for what can be accomplished in the cause of gun rights. He says his goal is to push gun control far enough to the fringes that neither major party can maintain an anti-gun agenda. He thinks that will take serious self-policing and a heavy dose of influence but it’s a goal worth having. The intentions he has for his activism are where we begin. The following is the last section of Gutowski’s conversation with Pincus, lightly edited for clarity and exclusive for members: Reload members can get the whole interview here. If you’re not yet a member, join now to access this and other exclusive posts! Podcast: VCDL’s Philip Van Cleave on the Upcoming Virginia Elections By Stephen Gutowski On this episode, Virginia Citizen Defense League’s (VCDL) president Philip Van Cleave joins the show to discuss his group’s defamation suit against the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). He talks about why the group feels CSGV falsely labeling them a “domestic terror organization” is actionable and why VCDL believes it can reach the high bar to win a defamation case. He also discusses the upcoming elections in Virginia, what VCDL is doing to elect pro-gun candidates, and why they haven’t endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Younkin. I also talk to contributing writer Jake Fogleman about President Biden’s decision to withdraw his ATF nominee after a series of exclusive reports from The Reload uncovered his questionable background. Plus, I interview Reload Member John Mcadams about what got him into big game hunting and how the pandemic has driven new people to hunting. You can listen to the full podcast on your favorite podcasting app or by clicking here. You can also watch the video podcast on our YouTube channel. Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski appears on LiveNow From Fox / Screenshot Gutowski on Fox: Moderate Democratic Senators Stopped Biden’s ATF Nomination By The Reload Staff Founder of The Reload Stephen Gutowski joined LiveNow from Fox to discuss the withdrawal of David Chipman’s nomination to lead the ATF. “Essentially they couldn’t get the 50 votes needed to push him through the Senate,” Gutowski said. “It came down to getting all 50 of the Senators who caucus with the Democrats to vote for him, and they simply couldn’t secure enough votes to make it happen.” Anchor Andrew Craft read the White House’s statement on Chipman’s withdrawal, in which the President blamed Republicans for sinking the nomination, and asked about the difficulty of confirming an ATF director. “The White House is being a little bit disingenuous there because they didn’t need Republican support to get his nomination through,” Gutowski said. “They only needed 50 votes plus the tiebreaker from the Vice President. Certainly there was united Republican opposition, but the real key here was Democratic opposition to his nomination.” NRA-certified instructor Rick Ector in an NRA ad / Screenshot Training Event for Thousands of Black Women in Detroit Highlighted in NRA Ad By Stephen Gutowski The National Rifle Association shined the spotlight on an event one of its members put on in Detroit, Michigan. The NRA released an ad on Thursday featuring Rick Ector, one of the group’s certified instructors, talking about why he organized a free training for more than 4,000 Black women at the end of August. Ector explains what led him to gun ownership and why he is motivated to train others in armed self-defense. “I was raised my entire life brainwashed that guns were bad and only bad people would need a gun. Until one night when I was robbed at gunpoint in my own driveway,” he said in the ad. “I was staring down the barrel of a gun with my family in the house behind me. The only reason they didn’t ransack my house was because I told a whopping lie that my house was filled with guns and trained users. They fled. On that day, I made a promise to myself that I would never look down the barrel or be defenseless ever again, and I would use my experience to help others.” He argued gun ownership, rather than gun control, is the solution to violence in the city. “If simply having guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens was the answer, Detroit would be the safest place on earth,” Ector said. “Instead, it’s seen a 53% increase in shootings in 2020 alone.” Click here to read the full story.
  11. Philadelphia had more murders in the first half of 2021 than the entire year from 2013 to 2017, denoting the grim reality that neither elected nor appointed leaders have a plan to stop the rise of violent crime in the city. Meanwhile, the media have universally labeled the seemingly uncontrolled crime uptick as a “gun violence” epidemic. By using the term “gun violence” instead of the legal definitions of murder, attempted murder, and assault, the accountability for the criminal who committed these violent crimes is semantically shifted to the mere tool they illegally used to victimize others. Furthermore, by labeling a preventable surge in violent crime as “gun violence,” we are failing to hold our state and municipal leaders accountable for refusing to enforce the law and address the criminality that is slated to cost between 500 and 600 Philadelphians their lives by the end of 2021. This is not a new phenomenon. For over a century, politicians have been trying to obfuscate their responsibilities to keep their constituents safe by trying to shift the blame to gun control laws. Economist and native Philadelphian Walter E. Williams is famously quoted by saying, “Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to problems they created in the first place.” Williams’ quote applies when reviewing our official response to the alarming rise in murders impacting Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable population. “It is a fact that less than 1% of the time, legitimate gun owners discharge their firearms, and usually when that occurs, it is done legally in defense of themselves, in defense of family member(s), in defense of an innocent victim, or in defense of their property,” said a senior Philadelphia police commander, who spoke to PW under a condition of anonymity due to a fear of reprisal from the department. “We do not have people with gun permits and registered firearms, going around the streets of the city, randomly shooting people. Recidivist criminals, the overwhelming majority who were let out by [Philadelphia District Attorney] Larry Krasner, are committing the shootings.” One of the earliest American gun control laws was the Sullivan Act, enacted in the state of New York in 1911. The act did little to curb violent crime in New York, which peaked through the 1970s to the 1990s. This steady rise in New York’s violent crime rate was stopped in the mid-1990s, following the elections of Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, who focused on law enforcement as opposed to new laws that do little when existing ones go unenforced. Instead of the successes of the Guiliani administration marking a sea change in municipal accountability, federal, state, and local politicians are still using terms like “gun violence” and proposing a myriad of costly strategies to avoid accountability for their constituents’ safety. Here in Pennsylvania, this became evident in March, when Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro took part in a “gun violence” town hall organized by CeaseFire PA. It was during this virtual event that Wolf admitted to an increase in violent crime in Pennsylvania, by saying “2020 gun violence rates were up all across the board.” Wolf went on to say, “Last year we saw more firearm-related murders, more shootings, more mass shootings.” In response, Wolf advocated for changes to Pennsylvania gun laws. Similarly, Shapiro said it’s time for change, saying, “You can be both pro-Constitution and pro-common sense and pro-public safety.” In response, House majority spokesman Jason Gottesman, said in a statement that “new gun laws will only lead to more opportunities for illegal gun use and will do little to prevent the senseless tragedies that have recently occurred.” Those on the street have a clearer perspective to the issue. Mike Bresnan, head of Local 22, the union representing the city’s firefighters and paramedics, said, “This isn’t about guns, it’s about a total lack of accountability by our city’s criminal justice leaders.” Bresnan continued: “Every day, our members treat and transport repeat victims of violent crime, addiction, and accidents.” At a national level, homicide rates are at levels not seen since 1998. In June, the Biden administration offered its comprehensive plan to address the problem. The Biden plan contains firearms regulation, federal resources to support local law enforcement, community violence interventions, social services, and support for released prisoners. Biden describes his strategy as focusing on the disruption of two hazardous forces: “the ready availability of illegal firearms and the willingness of people to use them.” The problem with Biden’s strategy is it remains focused more on firearms used to commit crimes, which already violate existing law, and less on facilitating and assisting municipal law enforcement. This may be because of the inconvenient fact that the root cause of rising crime is directly correlated to state and local policies implemented by the progressive wing of his party. Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash When looking at the cities that account for the majority of the violent crime increase over the past two years, there is a clear link to the election of a radically progressive prosecutor or a criminal justice reform law enacted by state legislatures, which limit traditional bail and charging thresholds. These policies were enacted in the name of racial equality, but the resulting murders and shootings victimized disadvantaged communities with historically high rates of violent crime. Locally elected prosecutors, mayors, and state legislators failing to incarcerate violent criminals has directly contributed to rising murder rates. While charges are declined and bail is granted in arrests where the cycle of criminality could have been interrupted, criminals graduate to more violent acts. Meanwhile, declining morale among the ranks of law enforcement has resulted in less active policing. In an almost tone-deaf manner – President Biden, Gov. Wolf, and Mayor Kenney’s answer to this issue is to further restrict the rights of citizens who seek to legally protect themselves. “Many of our firefighters and medics are also assaulted in the line of duty, but the criminals committing these crimes rarely face prosecution from Larry Krasner,” said Bresnan. “This means that we’re forced to encounter victims of criminals that are left on the streets to harm the community, instead of being behind bars. And it makes it that much more difficult for our members to carry out their duty of caring for the citizens they swore to protect.” If our leaders truly wanted to get control over the issue of rising crime, history has already shown us that enforcement is the answer. When examining the uptick in shootings, perpetrators and victims have similar profiles; young men, most often under the age of 25, concentrated among interlinked social networks like gang affiliation or shared neighborhood. The vast majority of guns used in shootings are illegally obtained, with removed serial numbers, bought from straw purchasers, or are stolen. The Biden administration seeks to restrict illicit gun sales by hiring additional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and launching firearm trafficking task forces in several jurisdictions. At the same time, they seek to provide the public with more information about delinquent dealers, increase taxes on guns and ammunition, and prohibit trade in certain types of guns and accessories. These initiatives seek to lessen the number of illicit guns on the street in the future but are unlikely to address the rise of murders in violation of numerous existing gun laws. That’s because the guns that are driving the current homicide spike have long been possessed illicitly, changing hands periodically, often within a criminal subculture. As is demonstrated by high shooting rates in cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York whose highly restrictive gun laws have been subject to constitutional scrutiny, neither proximity to licensed gun dealers nor legal gun laws have been predictive of armed crimes among the groups that have seen the greatest increases in shootings. With over 390 million firearms owned in the United States, the Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm. Therefore, many Pennsylvanians are critical of the governor’s gun control focus, while little has been done by prosecutors like Shapiro and Krasner to increase the law enforcement and prosecution of those in violation of existing laws. New York’s example of the 1990s shows that effective policing and prosecution turns up illegal firearms and removes parole/probation violators and wanted criminals from the streets before they graduate to murder. Pennsylvania voters should be holding officials accountable and demanding they move away from the specter of a “gun violence epidemic” and toward proven strategies to address the immediate life and death issue of violent crime. Police departments cannot flatten the rising rates of murder alone: they require the partnership of our state and local prosecutors and correctional authorities supported by the funding and coordinating capacity of the federal government to assure that their duties are not performed in vain. https://philadelphiaweekly.com/call-a-murder-a-murder/amp/
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