Responding to yesterday’s report in Capitol Fax that anti-gun Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is trying to negotiate with the National Rifle Association and Illinois State Rifle Association, the ISRA executive director contacted Examiner today to state emphatically, “We’re not buying any part of Rahm Emanuel’s bill.”
This column discussed the Capitol Fax report. It appears to be making big news in the Prairie State. But ISRA veteran Richard Pearson told this column that Emanuel’s proposal “has nothing to do with putting criminals in jail.”
“It’s only aimed at law-abiding citizens,” he insisted.
Emanuel’s proposal, according to the Chicago Tribune, would mandate a minimum of three years behind bars for anyone found to be illegally possessing a firearm, with a requirement that 85 percent of the sentence be served. But Pearson said Cook County prosecutors will allow criminals to plea bargain away their gun charges, leaving law-abiding citizens caught up in the crime crackdown as the only people against whom full prosecutions will be mounted.
“If you want to put violent criminals in jail for having a gun,” Pearson said in a telephone conversation Tuesday afternoon, “I don’t care. But if you want to pick on law-abiding citizens, I do care.”
Pearson estimated that the Emanuel proposal could cost the state anywhere from $900 million to $1.3 billion, and at that, he indicated he was being conservative.
He asserted that the only reason this legislative push is being mounted is “to make Rahm look good.”
Even the Chicago Tribune story noted that, “If lawmakers fail to act, Emanuel can blame the General Assembly for the city's struggles in dealing with violent gun crimes. Should lawmakers reach a deal, the mayor can claim an important crime-fighting tool, though its actual effectiveness won’t be known for years.”
Another player in this, according to Pearson, is Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who is notoriously anti-gun. She was quoted by Capitol Fax as having once stated, “I don’t believe that people should own guns,” and that statement is part of an old YouTube video.
Pearson said he is having nothing to do with helping Emanuel push legislation that could ultimately put law-abiding gun owners in Alvarez’ sights. Ultimately, though, he said Emanuel’s goal is to make it appear he is trying to solve the crime and murder problem.
“You’ve got Rahm Emanuel who has the city out of control,” Pearson insisted, “so he’s got to have something to do. It doesn’t matter, as long as it sells to the press, as long as it makes Rahm look good and Anita Alvarez look good and the city council look good.”