CHICAGO WAREHOUSE SHOOTING
As most of our readers know, last week saw yet another tragic workplace shooting. In this case, 6 innocent individuals were gunned down by a former employee of an auto parts company.
As reported by the media, the shooter was no ordinary ex-employee. He was a known drug-user with a long arrest record for weapons violations, assaults, domestic battery, and other serious crimes. Amazingly, and unfortunately, his conviction record was very short - with a sole conviction in 1989 for illegal weapons possession - an infraction that earned him a suspended sentence.
Like most folks, Illinois firearm owners asked, "What was this guy doing on the streets? Why wasn't he in jail? Why were charges against this guy always dropped?"
Of course, we'll probably never know why the people of Illinois were never afforded their day in court with this clown. But we certainly heard a round of excuses coming from the Cook County States Attorney's Office and the Chicago Police Department.
Although most people recognize that the shooter was a product of a broken criminal justice system, the gun grabbers took the opportunity to blame you, us, the NRA, and, of course, guns, for the crime.
Among the notable quotables was Chicago Mayor Daley who urged gun owners to call the cops and have them come take their guns away because, sooner or later, their guns will hurt someone. Hey, now there's a great idea. But, one has to wonder if fellows like the warehouse shooter would be burning up the phone lines asking the coppers to come take their guns away from them before they hurt someone.
Of course, the anti-gun bleaters dusted off their tired old whine about how, if this guy only had access to knives, things wouldn't have been so bad. Wow, why didn't we think of that? Really...how many people can one disembowel in the time it takes the Chicago cops to respond to a 911 call? But, wouldn't the families of knifing victims feel better knowing that their loved ones were merely on the short end of a roll of the dice - and that they spilled their blood so that others could live?
Of course, it's easy for instrumentality theorists like the gun grabbers to yelp about how if there were no guns shootings wouldn't happen. Indeed if there were no guns there would be no shootings. Crime victims would have to settle for being bludgeoned, stomped, stabbed, strangled, or burned to death.
But, to the gun grabbers, those issues are someone else's issue. And, wouldn't it be comforting to know that, when you are out on the street, you'd be mingling with deviants who are whispering to themselves, "Gee, if I had a gun right now I'd kill someone...but I don't - so I won't."
Which brings us back to the question as to why the warehouse shooter was allowed to roam our streets. Guns don't kill people...people kill people.
WAREHOUSE SHOOTING PART 2
In an aside that just boggles the mind, IL Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) responded to the warehouse shootings by calling for a police investigation into the manner in which the shooter had been fired from his job. Good try, Sen. Hunter. Sheesh.
And from what I understand the last two "traceable" owners of the gun he used were two Chicago cops. Yeah, nice try Richie it's time for a new Mayor.
Gun control laws may be partly at fault in massacre
August 29, 2003
BY JOHN R. LOTT JR.
The tragic attack on Wednesday at Windy City Core Supply left six people murdered. What can be learned from the attack? Acting Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline was already being described in the press as taking ''a swipe at lenient U.S. gun controls.''
The attack took place in a city where new handguns since 1982 are already banned, a giant so-called ''gun-free safe zone.'' Yet, consider the following: Suppose you or your family are being stalked by a criminal who intends on harming you. Would you feel safer putting a sign in front of your home saying ''This Home is a Gun-Free Zone''?
It is pretty obvious why we don't put these signs up. As with many other gun laws, law-abiding citizens--not would-be criminals--would obey the sign. Instead of creating a safe zone for victims, it leaves victims defenseless and creates a safe zone for those intent on causing harm.
Fortunately, legislators around the country are realizing this. In 1985, just eight states had the most liberal right-to-carry laws--laws that automatically grant permits once applicants pass a criminal background check, pay their fees and, when required, complete a training class. Today the total is 35 states. In a new book, The Bias Against Guns, Bill Landes of the University of Chicago Law School and I examine multiple-victim public shootings in the United States from 1977 to 1999 and find that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by 60 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent.
No other gun control law had any beneficial effect. Indeed, right-to-carry laws were the only policy that consistently reduced these attacks.
To the extent attacks still occurred in right-to-carry states, they overwhelmingly happened in the special places within those states where concealed handguns were banned. The impact of right-to-carry laws on multiple-victim public shootings is much larger than on other crimes, for a simple reason. Increasing the probability that someone will be able to protect themselves increases deterrence. Even when any single person might have a small probability of having a concealed handgun, the probability that at least someone will is very high.
Cline is right that the warehouse murderer, Salvador Tapia, was ''somebody that never should have had a gun.'' The problem is that the handgun ban and bans on people being able to carry guns didn't stop Tapia; the rules did stop law-abiding citizens from being able to defend themselves.
People's reaction to the horrific events displayed on TV is understandable, but the more than 2 million times each year that Americans use guns defensively are never discussed--even though this is five times as often as the 450,000 times that guns are used to commit crimes over the last couple of years. Seldom do cases make the news where public shootings are stopped or mothers use guns to prevent their children from being kidnapped. Few would know that a third of the public school shootings were stopped by citizens with guns before uniformed police could arrive.
During 2001, the morning and evening national news broadcasts on the three main television networks carried almost 190,000 words on gun crimes. Not one single segment featured a civilian using a gun to stop a crime. Newspapers were not much better.
Police are extremely important in deterring crime, but they almost always arrive after the crime has been committed. Annual surveys of crime victims in the United States continually show that, when confronted by a criminal, people are safest if they have a gun. Just as the threat of arrest and prison can deter criminals from committing a crime, so can the fact that victims can defend themselves.
Good intentions don't necessarily make good laws. What counts is whether the laws ultimately save lives. Unfortunately, too many gun laws primarily disarm law-abiding citizens, not criminals.
John R. Lott Jr. is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.