Gun Control Targets The Law-Abiding

posted on February 20, 2024
Randy Kozuch

It’s getting harder and harder to take anti-gun politicians seriously. That’s not to say the threat these gun controllers pose isn’t dire. Their goal, as ever, is civilian disarmament. It’s that their rhetoric, actions and preferred policies are increasingly divorced from reality.

Consider Illinois. In January 2023, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) enacted a sweeping ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard-capacity magazines. Upon signing, Pritzker crowed, “My colleagues in the State Capitol have been battling the powerful forces of the NRA to enshrine the strongest and most effective gun violence legislation that we possibly can.

Such legislation does not include efforts to meaningfully ensure those who actually commit violent crime are prosecuted and punished. The governor has signed legislation to abolish cash bail and backed numerous other criminal-justice “reforms.” Pritzker assumed the governorship in January 2019. Chicago Police Department statistics show that crime in that city was up 16% year over year in 2023 and up a shocking 55% from four years earlier. There were 16% more shooting incidents and 23% more murders in the Windy City in 2023 than four years before.

Contending that this legislation is “effective,” let alone the “most effective,” at anything other than harassing law-abiding gun owners is risible. Illinois’ gun ban chiefly targets certain types of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Restricting access to rifles and shotguns is not an effective means of confronting violent crime, in part because long guns of any configuration are rarely used in violent crime. FBI expanded homicide data for Illinois in 2022 listed 372 murders as having been committed using a handgun. In contrast, 16 murders were listed as having been committed with rifles and a grand total of three were committed with shotguns. Together, “knives or cutting instruments” and “personal weapons (hands/fists/feet/etc.)” accounted for more than three times as many murders as rifles and shotguns combined.

According to the ATF’s National Firearms Commerce and Trafficking Assessment (NFCTA), which broke down firearm tracing data from 2017-2021, pistols and revolvers accounted for 87% of “crime gun” traces from Illinois over that period. Further, no caliber used predominantly in rifles appeared in a list of Illinois’ 10 “Top Crime Gun Calibers,”—aside from .22, which is also a popular handgun caliber.

The most senseless portion of Illinois’s new regime prohibits .50 BMG-caliber rifles of any description. In a finding that should surprise no one, these large and expensive rifles didn’t appear in the ATF NFCTA’s section on “Crime Guns Recovered and Traced Within the United States and Its Territories.” It turns out, Chicago gangsters aren’t partial to carrying around 25-pound guns with 29-inch barrels.

Anti-gun politicians have no excuse not to know their favorite gun-ban scheme doesn’t work. The entire country engaged in a fruitless semi-auto firearm and standard-capacity magazine ban from 1994 to 2004. A 1997 DOJ-funded study of that ban acknowledged, “at best, the assault weapons ban can have only a limited effect on total gun murders, because the banned weapons and magazines were never involved in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders.” A follow-up study from 2004 reiterated this point, stating, “AWs [assault weapons] and LCMs [large capacity magazines] were used in only a minority of gun crimes prior to the 1994 federal ban.” The researchers went on to admit, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Part of the Illinois gun ban required existing owners to register their now-prohibited firearms, parts and ammunition by Jan. 1, 2024, merely to retain their lawfully acquired property. Compliance has been sparse. Illinois ABC affiliate WTVO reported on Jan. 4, “According to the Illinois State Police, as of this week, about 29,357 of Illinois’ 2.4 million Firearm Owner’s Identification card holders (about 1.22%) had registered the banned weapons.” On Jan. 8, news outlet The Center Square reported that a representative of Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois “said other estimates of those who actually own the now-banned guns may bring the compliance rate to somewhere between 4% and 8%.” That source went on to add, “no matter how you slice it, the compliance is very low.”

Perhaps acknowledging the futility of the registration scheme, the Illinois State Police noted that they are keeping registration open past the deadline, but “the relevant jurisdiction could deem a late endorsement affidavit submittal to be invalid or insufficient.”

Extensive noncompliance was foreseeable for anyone operating in the real world. Previous efforts to register firearms in New York and Connecticut were met with similar widespread civil disobedience.

With anti-gun politicians pushing senseless gun restrictions that won’t impact criminal conduct, while abandoning their constituents to violent crime, gun owners must adopt a cynical view to make sense of these lawmakers and their motives. Gun owners should ignore the empty rhetoric and recognize these measures for what they truly are—a calculated attack on an opposing political constituency and their fundamental rights.



This Professor is Not Politically Correct

This is a perspective on the Second Amendment worth hearing.

From the Editor | A Time for Celebration

The NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, held in Dallas, Texas, next month, are a time for celebration of freedom.

Standing Guard | NRA Members Put Tough Talk Into Even Tougher Action

NRA members show, year after year, that they will stand and fight for freedom.

President’s Column | Don’t Fall For Oft-Repeated Lies

It is no surprise that the enemies of our freedom have been lying for decades, but today, their lies are more dangerous than ever.

NRA Wins Historic Victory For America’s Veterans

It was a long time coming, but this nation’s veterans, who fought for our rights, can finally seek the help they need while knowing their own rights will also be protected.

So the D.C. Police Department Came Under ATF Scrutiny

Recent reports found that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, as the District’s sole FFL, came under scrutiny from the ATF.

Get the best of America's 1st Freedom delivered to your inbox.