This feature appears in the November ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
With the huge 2016 spike in urban armed violence, Donald Trump has pledged to use the NRA-supported crime-fighting tools enacted in the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 to vigorously enforce laws against armed violent criminals and surgically prosecute the worst, most-dangerous offenders, taking them off the streets—many for a long prison term.
Trump’s resolve to enforce federal law against criminal possession and use of firearms will be welcome news, especially for residents of a city like Chicago, which is suffering violence at levels not seen in 20 years. Trump’s resolve to enforce federal law against criminal possession and use of firearms will be welcome news, especially for residents of a city like Chicago, which is suffering violence at levels not seen in 20 years.
Republican presidential candidate Trump’s call to action throws the light of truth on President Barack Obama’s refusal to enforce existing federal law. And it throws a similar light on Democrat Hillary Clinton’s refusal to even recognize existing federal statutes.
Current laws already call for tough federal penalties for a criminal who acquires, transports, transfers or even possesses a firearm; he doesn’t even have to use it in a crime. If he does, the penalty is compounded. And if murder or narcotics comes into play, the penalty can be up to life in a federal prison. Congress cannot make what criminals do with guns any more illegal.
Chicago is a case study in the Obama Justice Department’s criminal malfeasance in refusing to use federal gun laws against violent armed predators. Chicago has been rated 90th out of 90 judicial districts in terms of federal prosecutions for such crimes as felon in possession, which provides a five-year, no-parole penalty.
With starkly few federal prosecutions that could take hundreds of the Windy City’s most violent armed criminal predators off the streets, the good citizens of that city are victims of a kind of federally sanctioned anarchy. August 2016 saw the city’s shooting and murder rate eclipse the highest on record since 1996. Neither the White House, nor Hillary, nor the elite media, seem to care.
But with the senseless murder in late August of a young cousin of NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, a Chicago Bulls guard, the spotlight was instantly on Chicago’s unchecked armed criminal violence.
Nykea Aldridge, a 32-year-old mother of four, was killed with two stray bullets fired by a 22-year-old confessed shooter named Derren Sorrells. Sorrells and his brother, Darwin Sorrells—both on parole—were charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. According to the police, the Sorrells’ intended victim was an Uber driver whose mistake was to make eye contact with the brothers. When she was murdered, Aldridge was pushing a baby stroller returning from registering her kids for school. A devoted mother senselessly gunned down.
An Aug. 29 abc7chicago.com story headlined “Man confessed in shooting of Dwyane Wade’s cousin, prosecutors say,” proclaims, “Police said both brothers are on parole for previous gun charges, and had served only a fraction of the time they’d been sentenced to.” (Emphasis added.)
During a press conference about the murder, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said, “These two guys are perfect examples of what I’ve been talking about. Both of ’em on parole for gun offenses.”
One source said one of the brothers had been arrested five times for felony gun possession.
Think about that for a minute. Had prosecution of federal law against these convicted felons and gang members happened at any time in their violent careers, they would have been put behind federal bars with mandatory sentences. Perhaps for a very long time. No early out. Chicago is a case study in the Obama Justice Department’s criminal malfeasance in refusing to use federal gun laws against violent armed predators.
For Nykea Aldridge, that would have meant that Aug. 26 would have been a normal day, and she would have pushed her stroller home, fixed dinner and put her babies to bed. Her kids would still have a mother.
Johnson at his press conference made an admission about the city’s armed violent criminals, “Clearly, they don’t think we’re serious. Clearly, they don’t think there’s a consequence to their actions. And to be quite honest, we’re showing them that there’s not. If we’re not going to keep you in jail because you choose to use a gun—then what are we doing?”
The answer to that question is obvious. Not the right thing.
But it gets stranger. Johnson, when asked about remarks made by Trump, replied, “If you have a magic bullet to stop the violence, not only in Chicago but anywhere in the country, please share it with us.”
Trump has shared it! Enforce existing federal law! It is the same message NRA has been saying for years. I have demanded it. Chris W. Cox has demanded it. You have demanded it.
Again, there is nothing that criminals do with guns that is not already covered by tough federal felony provisions. And among all those laws, the most straightforward is possession of a firearm by a felon, which provides a five-year, no-parole sentence. Period.
Chicago’s top cop has said that 1,400 habitual violent felons commit 85 percent of the armed criminal violence that is terrorizing the good citizens of his city. The media has called it a “hot list,” and the ACLU has warned it is profiling. Calling a violent criminal a criminal is profiling? Lord help the people of Chicago.
So why haven’t these 1,400—many the most dangerous of the most dangerous—been the subject of intensive federal investigation and prosecution?
For the bosses of big-city political machines, and for gun-ban Democrats like Hillary Clinton, the answer is clear. If the public knew the truth about tough federal laws dealing with criminals and guns, their demands for gun control for the law-abiding would be DOA. But to keep his promise, Trump must be elected, and Hillary—the most anti-Second Amendment candidate ever to run—must lose. It’s up to us.
Let me inject an explicitly clear headline from chicagoreporter.com into this sad tale: “Thousands of felony gun cases are being dismissed in Cook County criminal courts.” The truth is that many of these cases involving the most violent offenders could have been tried in the federal court, with swift and sure justice for the criminals.
For anyone who might have doubts about this fact, be sure to tell them about Project Exile—a truly remarkable cooperative law enforcement project in Richmond, Va., instituted in 1997. With close coordination between local, state and federal law enforcement divisions and the federal courts, and a massive public awareness campaign about federal law and its sure enforcement, criminals literally disarmed themselves. The murder rate and all armed crime went down dramatically.
As I said at the outset, Trump, as president, will be committed to giving Project Exile new life. If he does, then we will see real crime control, and what that means for the people who are victimized by armed violence is that their communities will see a return to domestic tranquility. Bank on it.
But to keep his promise, Trump must be elected, and Hillary—the most anti-Second Amendment candidate ever to run—must lose. It’s up to us. And we must elect pro-Second Amendment majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. We are 5 million strong, and as NRA members, we are the heart of a much larger Second Amendment movement. We absolutely must get our friends, family and colleagues to the polls Nov. 8. The future of the nation and the freedoms we cherish depend upon our votes.