The Pearson Report – May 12, 2010
By Richard Pearson
Executive Director Illinois State Rifle Association
Illinois –-(AmmoLand.com)- I read recently where one of these gun control groups was characterizing the ISRA as being “against gun violence prevention.” Even when I considered the source, I was still taken back a bit by this misrepresentation of what the ISRA stands for.
The officers and directors of the ISRA along with the membership as a whole are very much in favor of gun violence prevention. In fact, we see the ISRA as having a leadership role in preventing gun violence. At the same time, we are also the state’s leading opponent of gun control schemes – especially those disguised as “gun violence prevention” efforts.
Whereas the gun control movement believes that the key to “gun violence prevention” lies in choking off the availability of firearms to law abiding citizens, we at the ISRA believe that the real key to preventing violent crime is to push back hard against the people who actually commit the crimes in the first place.
According to the Chicago Police Department, about 88% of murderers have previous criminal records. Of those previous offenders, about 80% have more than 6 past arrests. Amazingly, the same reports indicate that 75% of murder victims have arrest records at the time of their deaths. A reasonable person just has to wonder why people who have been through the justice system are so much more likely to either murder, or be murdered, than the general population. Time in prison is supposed to “fix” these people, isn’t it?
To put it bluntly, I think that there is clearly something wrong with our so-called justice system.
The anti-gunners would have us believe that the problem isn’t recidivism. No, they’d make some nonsensical claim that it’s hard to be a saint in the city and that the so-called “easy availability of guns” is too great of a temptation for these angels with dirty faces to overcome. The bottom line is that the anti-gunners believe that taking your guns away from you will make all these violent ex-cons “go straight.”
Do you believe any bit of that? I think it is a lot of bunk.
The problem we have here is the fact that the liberal social engineers who have taken over our justice system have turned our penal institutions into domestic terrorism training camps. The thugs walk into prison bad, and come out even worse. Aberrant behavior is no longer corrected, it is encouraged and, as a result, the streets of Illinois are some of the most dangerous in the nation. Thanks to the worsening economy, we’re sure to see an escalation in violent crime as cash-strapped prisons are emptied and viscous criminals migrate into suburbia and rural areas.
So, how does the ISRA differ from the gun-grabbers on the issue of gun violence prevention?
First off, we believe that the best deterrent to violent crime is the unfettered exercise of our 2nd Amendment rights – including recognizing the right of all law-abiding citizens to carry defensive firearms for protection of self and family. We do not believe that self defense is the exclusive privilege of those who can afford private security or those who have taxpayer-funded contingents of armed bodyguards.
Bringing Illinois into line with 48 other states that honor the right of self defense is the ISRA’s top priority.
Our second priority in combating criminal violence is our work to repeal and rescind laws and regulations designed to discourage free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms. As it stands, state and local regulatory agencies expend tremendous resources enforcing rules and regulations that target the behavior and preferences of law abiding firearm owners. We feel that it would be better to redirect those resources to the apprehension and punishment of violent criminals. In our legislature, much too much rancor is generated by the endless debate over senseless gun control proposals. The needs of the state would be better served if our legislature were to be free of the gun control debate so that its efforts could be focused on cutting crime, restoring integrity, and fostering hope for a better tomorrow.
Yet another ISRA priority is the correction of laws and regulations that carry a huge cost of compliance for lawful firearm retailers. This high cost of regulatory compliance serves as a barrier to market entry by FFL entrepreneurs. This barrier to entry stifles competition and raises the possibility of de facto rationing of our 2nd Amendment rights when slim profit margins clash with arbitrarily high costs of regulatory compliance. In short, exercise of our rights cannot be separated from economic realities.
We will not stand by and allow the anti-gunners utilize the economy as a weapon against the right to keep and bear arms.
So there you have it in black and white – the difference between the ISRA and the anti-gunners. On one hand, you have the ISRA solution to violent crime – a solution that empowers citizens to provide for their own defense against criminals and unshackles business to supply the citizenry with the tools they need to be safe. On the other hand, you have the gun control movement that thinks the solution to gun violence is to demonize the ISRA, hold poetry contests, and take guns away from law-abiding citizens. You decide which you think is better.
Before I close this edition, I’d like to remind the readers that the Illinois General Assembly is currently on a short recess. Just because these guys are out of town, it doesn’t mean that the danger of draconian, Chicago-style gun laws has gone away. All 100+ gun control proposals sponsored by the Daley Gun Grabbing Machine earlier this session remain alive and well, just waiting to be called for a floor vote. None of these bills dies until session ends in early 2011. So, do not let down your guard. If you see your representative or senator in your neighborhood, remind them time and time again that you stand with the ISRA and are opposed to any bill that will, in any way, inhibit the free exercise of your Second Amendment rights. Be sure to stop by the ISRA web site and check the latest news from Springfield.
Remember, gun control is a disease – you are the cure.
The ISRA is the state’s leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. Since 1903, the ISRA has represented the interests of over 1.5 million law-abiding Illinois firearm owners Visit: www.isra.org