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Standing Guard

By Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President

We Don’t Need More Gun Laws, Just Enforcement of Existing Ones

Violence in the nation’s inner cities is spiraling out of control, smothering the lives of millions of innocent citizens, who live in constant fear of the thugs who rule their streets and neighborhoods.

For the Obama administration and the urban machine politicians presiding over this murderous chaos—the empty, always-ready answer is a call for more gun control.

Good people—especially the innocents who are the victims of urban carnage—are told they must forfeit their Second Amendment-protected rights to pay the price for what is fast becoming urban criminal anarchy.

Typical of that phony, hollow response was White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s answer to the alarming urban violence: “Obviously there’s some common sense things we could do—certainly passage of some gun safety laws in Congress that could keep guns out of the hands of criminals would be one thing that we could do to try to limit the violence.”

That statement was mirrored by similar empty, boiler-plate responses by mayors who are facing the wrath of their law-abiding crime victims who rightfully fear increasingly vicious violence.

How about taking criminals off the street? That’s not in their vocabulary.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—whose city has historically inflicted some of the harshest gun laws in the nation on its citizens—was in lock step demanding more restrictions that would apply only to the law-abiding. Emanuel’s response can be summed up in three words defining his remedy for “gun violence:” misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance.

Emanuel—a former U.S. congressman, the go-to official on gun control in Clinton’s White House, and President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff—has never called for enforcement of existing federal laws with respect to armed violent criminals. The same can be said for Obama and his former Attorney General Eric Holder—who lie by obfuscation.

The reason is simple. If the American people were aware of mandatory federal penalties for violent armed criminals, gun control schemes would be non-starters.

As for Emanuel, his silence makes him culpable for the acts of criminals in his city. The same goes for the likes of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his cadre of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Syracuse University, which monitors federal law enforcement under various categories, ranks Chicago at the bottom of a list of 90 jurisdictions regularly researched in terms of enforcement of federal firearm laws against armed criminals. Every major city in the nation where prohibitive gun laws suppress the rights of Americans is in the same boat.

When it comes to bad guys and guns, the reality is that every conceivable act committed by criminals involving firearms of any kind is already illegal under tough federal laws that cover every corner of the nation.

The mantra of gun banners is always the same: their Draconian local and state gun control laws are negated by guns coming from other jurisdictions with lax laws. That excuse is a hoax.

When guns are smuggled into Chicago, Emanuel knows we are talking about multiple violations of federal laws that provide harsh penalties for acts involved with interstate firearm trafficking. Try this. Anyone who transports or receives a firearm or ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit a felony is subject to a 10-year prison sentence. If drugs or violence are involved, there are multipliers that could make it add up to a lifetime in a federal prison. Simple possession by a violent felon calls for a mandatory 10-year sentence. The list goes on.

Emanuel knows all about these laws, but he chooses not to demand their application to his crime-ridden city. As a result, his citizens suffer at the hands of free-roaming criminal predators.

If the U.S. Justice Department were to systematically target and prosecute criminals who commit the daily fare of urban slaughter and assault, the results would be an instant and dramatic drop in violence.

For those of your friends who are unaware of “Project Exile”—a hugely successful campaign focused on prosecution by the U.S. Attorney in Richmond, Va.—remind them that the effort produced near-immediate reductions in the level of violence in that city. In the mid-1990s, Richmond was a very dangerous place. Once Project Exile was instituted, prosecution for firearm possession by violent felons, drug dealers and gang-bangers was swift and certain. It was so swift and sure that criminals began disarming themselves in order to escape the certain net of law enforcement and mandatory imprisonment.

Although the Obama Justice Department and virtually all big-city administrations have ignored Project Exile and its success, Detroit has taken up the Exile mantle, largely through the efforts of its outspoken pro-Second Amendment chief of police. Chief James Craig, who has urged law-abiding Detroit residents to arm themselves in their homes to stop criminal predators, was the subject of a cover story in the June 2014 issue of NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom magazine.

Called “Detroit One,” this new effort involves startling independence on the part of U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. A June 1, 2015, press release announced a publicity campaign, including billboards and broadcast public service announcements, with a very direct message:

“You do the math: Felon + gun = Long federal sentences.”

This is a fact that Obama, Emanuel, Bloomberg or Holder would choke on, but there it is.

Under Detroit One, the feds and local prosecutors are “focusing on prosecution of the illegal possession of guns by felons with violent criminal convictions.” The announcement on the cooperative effort was very clear about penalties and prosecution: “An offender who uses a gun during a violent crime faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, and an additional mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for a second offense.”

All of this is a total departure from the Obama administration’s callous lack of interest in using current law to bring armed, violent offenders to justice.
Detroit’s plan, if properly implemented, demonstrates the real possibilities for dealing with the horrible plague of violence that has descended upon America’s inner cities. The good people who live there and suffer the consequences of the politics of intentional incompetence of this administration deserve better.

The only way this will change is if we elect a president who will work to get violent criminals off the street and stay off the backs of the law abiding who cherish their Second Amendment-protected rights.