President Barack Obama traveled to Chicago to talk to the International Association of Chiefs of Police about fighting crime and gun control, but critics are already accusing him and his administration of being tough on the wrong people, and they have some data to back that up.
While a Chicago Tribune columnist was lambasting the president for not using three important words in his address to the top cops – “Mandatory minimum sentencing” – he was talking about gun control measures that criminals have already shown they habitually ignore.
And now comes a report from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) – which describes itself as a “data gathering, data research and data distribution organization at Syracuse University” – that shows prosecutions for gun crimes under the Obama administration have plummeted a startling 34.8 percent from 2005, when George Bush was president, and have steadily declined since 2013, the year Obama declared war on guns following the 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy.
Wading into the midst of this, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, blasted the president for being harder on guns than on criminals who misuse them.
“This raises a question that the president needs to answer,” he said in a press release. “Does he want to put criminals behind bars, or just discourage legal gun ownership?
“Obama can talk all he wants about being tough on crime,” he added, “but his agenda only seems to erode the Second Amendment and the privacy rights of gun owners.”
The president also appears to have the support of major newspapers, which have lately become more allied than skeptical when it comes to gun control, in a rather open way.
The Washington Post ran a story this week alleging that there have been “at least 29 mass shootings” over the past eight years committed by people who had concealed carry permits or licenses is an example.
That report seemed designed to rebut an earlier Washington Post piece by Eugene Volokh that discussed interventions by armed private citizens to stop crimes.
The New York Times editorialized about concealed carry, too, intimating that the idea of using personally-carried firearms in self-defense is something of a fantasy. Both newspapers relied on information from the Violence Policy Center, a gun control group. This opens the door to assertions that both newspapers have a bias that is all-too-transparent.
Whatever else Obama is doing, he is helping make gun rights versus gun control a major campaign issue for the 2016 elections. This could help Hillary Rodham Clinton in many ways, not the least of which will be to provide her with an emotional issue that can be used to deflect public attention away from her continuing Benghazi troubles, which were hardly put to rest by her appearance before the House committee investigating that controversy.
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