This feature appears in the May ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
“Eleven-year-old Chicago shooting victim dies, toddler gunned down hours later.”
That Feb. 14, 2017, headline on NBCNews.com in Chicago tells the story of two tragic deaths that should not have happened but for the intentional and aggressive malfeasance of the gun-ban political class who refuse to recognize the existence of harsh federal penalties for criminal use of firearms.
With former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions taking the reins at the U.S. Department of Justice, that malfeasance is about to end. Countless lives will be saved.
Attorney General Sessions and President Donald J. Trump have pledged to vigorously enforce the federal law—especially to relieve the good citizens of the nation’s inner cities of the daily terror of the most dangerous armed thugs and drug dealers. Chicago police reported that the man charged in Takiya’s murder “has an extensive criminal record, including a pair of domestic battery charges last November.”
Had those laws been enforced during the past eight years, Chicago and other American cities would not be suffering a murder epidemic.
Proof is in the successful enhanced federal firearm law enforcement effort in Richmond, Va., which began in 1997 when that city had the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the nation. Called Project Exile, the aggressive prosecution of armed criminals saw immediate and dramatic results. Project Exile, the brainchild of Assistant U.S. Attorney S. David Schiller, resulted in a 45 percent decline in homicides and a 30 percent decline in armed robberies in just one year.
Enforcement—coupled with public awareness campaigns—works! Schiller told me that Project Exile was so effective that criminals were disarming themselves to avoid sure, swift, no-plea federal sentences.
And this gets us back to the unspeakable horror of Chicago’s child murders and the daily carnage in the Windy City.
Again, for the “Eleven-year-old Chicago shooting victim dies, toddler gunned down hours later” article, the NBC news coverage of the murders in Chicago begins: “Takiya Holmes, one of two young girls gravely wounded in shootings in Chicago over the weekend, died on Tuesday morning. She was 11.”
“Takiya was the youngest child killed by gunfire. … But that distinction was lost just hours after Takiya died at Comer Children’s Hospital, when a toddler was among two people shot and killed in the city’s Lawndale neighborhood.”
In response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement demanding “meaningful gun control and sentencing legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
Emanuel’s words are obscenely hollow. Read “meaningless gun control.” What he should be demanding is “criminal control.”
Had Emanuel long ago sought federal arrests and prosecutions of violent armed felons, these two innocent Chicago children would be alive. The NRA has repeatedly called for strict enforcement of federal law designed to put away the worst, most violent armed criminals. But by hiding that law and seeking new, useless gun controls on good people, Emanuel, along with the likes of billionaire gun-banner Michael Bloomberg, have blood on their hands. Chicago consistently runs in the four dead-last ratings of federal prosecutions of violent armed criminals, joined by New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
But there’s more to the story of senseless murder.
Oh, yes—and this is the insane part—Chicago police reported that the man charged in Takiya’s murder “has an extensive criminal record, including a pair of domestic battery charges last November. Two months before that he was charged with aggravated assault of a teacher.” These thugs could have been taken off the streets long ago under federal law.
In the toddler’s murder, police arrested a 26-year-old who had bragged about the killing. According to ABC7, the man charged with first-degree murder “has a prior criminal history and has been arrested nine times previously for armed robbery, illegal gun charges and narcotics possession,” and he was paroled in April 2016 from a state prison.
These thugs could have been taken off the streets long ago under federal law. Gun possession for convicted felons alone calls for five-year mandatory prison sentences with no parole. If the possession involved drugs, multipliers kick in that could render sentences of up to life in a federal pen.
But because for eight long years the Obama administration intentionally failed in its obligation to enforce the law, two kids are dead, joining a daily list of victims of senseless carnage. Chicago, last year, saw what ABCNews.go.com reported as “the biggest spike in murders in Chicago in 60 years” with “3,550 shooting incidents and 762 murders, a grim total that works out to an average of over two murders and 10 shootings every single day.
The Chicago Tribune has been collecting data on state gun law violations and acknowledges that the state courts create “a revolving door in the criminal justice system for those who potentially pose the greatest threat to public safety.”
In a continuing study of the local criminal justice system, the paper reported: “The data analyzed by the Tribune revealed a pattern of defendants who had been released on bond being rearrested on subsequent gun-related charges. Among the new charges filed against individuals who had bonded out, the Tribune analysis found 15 of them had been charged with murder over the five-year period.” “I just don’t believe that we hold repeat gun offenders accountable for their actions.” — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson
The paper quoted Eddie Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent, saying, “I just don’t believe that we hold repeat gun offenders accountable for their actions.”
And this gets us back to Sessions and his pledge to apply tough federal prosecutions to remove the most vicious armed criminals from society.
In the early 1990s, Sessions—then the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama—was a pioneer in the use of federal firearm statutes against violent criminals. His use of felon-in-possession prosecutions was described as “draconian” by federal public defenders.
The website of gun-ban billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Thetrace.org, in a strange piece on Sessions’ stint as a federal prosecutor, proclaimed, “According to current and former federal law enforcement officials, these cases are generally seen by U.S. Attorneys’ offices as too minor to spend much time on, but an easy way to boost their total number of gun prosecutions."
But there is nothing “too minor” about putting away individual criminals like those charged with heinous murders of innocent children in Chicago—long before they kill. And the only way to actually prevent killings, is to remove criminals from society.
As NRA members—5 million strong—we must support Sessions’ steadfast effort to do just that.