This morning’s Chicago Tribune said the Windy City’s weekend murder tally went up because two more of the 82 people shot died of their wounds yesterday, and in this morning’s Seattle Times, savvy Evergreen State readers – cognizant of the Times’ endorsement of a gun control initiative – remind people that the city has very tough gun laws, and still the slaughter continues.
In the midst of this carnage, the anti-gun Chicago police superintendent unwittingly provided a learning opportunity about justice and punishment. His remarks came even as the body count went up yesterday.
Chicago doesn’t need a new gun law so much as it needs to take off the gloves on street thugs. According to WLS, most of the murders involved “illegal guns,” which translates to the guns were carried illegally, perhaps by people who are prohibited from possession firearms due to past criminal behavior.
Seattle Times readers reacting to the Associated Press report of Chicago carnage, point to the proposed 18-page Initiative 594 as the kind of non-answer to violence that anti-gunners push in an effort to make it appear that something is being done. That doesn’t mean something would be accomplished, and those readers appear to know it.
There is a current local case in point. Mario Jesus Parra is facing a third-degree assault charge in King County for allegedly assaulting a law enforcement officer in connection with the fatal shooting of another man, Oscar Perez-Giron, by a sheriff’s deputy. Parra, who has misdemeanor convictions, was allegedly carrying a concealed handgun and spare ammunition in a backpack, without having a concealed pistol license, according to the King County Prosecutor’s office.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, quoted in the Times article, insists that Illinois “needs stiffer penalties for people who violate gun laws.” This is a position gun rights activists have supported in the past via the “Hard Time for Armed Crime” measure passed in Washington two decades ago. Essentially it means cracking down on people who misbehave with firearms, rather than penalize law-abiding citizens with stricter gun regulations.
McCarthy is no friend of gun owners, but in this case he may be unintentionally correct. Throwing the book at bad guys gets them off the street and throwing away the key to their cell keeps them off the battlefield.
The story notes, “While Chicago has tough gun sales and possession ordinances, McCarthy maintains that Illinois needs stiffer penalties for people who violate gun laws…McCarthy said his officers are seeing more suspects who are reluctant to throw down their guns when confronted by police because they're more concerned with harsh treatment from their gangs if they lose their weapons than the legal system if they are arrested with them.” McCarthy says gang members who lose guns can be severely beaten by other gangsters.
He just cracked a code; certainty of punishment is a significant deterrent. These criminals are more scared of a beating than they are of confronting police with a gun. What’s wrong with that picture? The courts, of course, do not sentence people to beatings, but the courts can hammer repeat offenders with hard time behind bars.
Chicago’s situation should be a lesson for voters anywhere that gun prohibitionists insist that the answer to violence is to make gun laws tougher for law-abiding citizens. In a city and state with some of the toughest gun laws in the country, the staggering body count should be enough to convince anyone that one more restrictive gun law is not a solution.