Chicago – -(AmmoLand.com)- When we talk about the future of the Second Amendment, it is correct to note that the suburbs could be decisive. But there is another area which could be ripe for Second Amendment supporters to make gains – and which could help offset any gains made by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and other anti-Second Amendment extremists.
That place? Chicago.
Well, to be honest, we’re not just talking Chicago. Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans. Just about any major urban center of the United States is very ripe for Second Amendment supporters. It may be the most significant vulnerability Bloomberg has.
Here’s why: Many of the major cities have crime problems. Chicago and Baltimore have notoriously high murder rates. Both towns also tend to tilt state-wide races in favor of candidates who oppose our right to keep and bear arms. Philadelphia, while not as notorious, has had 333 murders as of December 18 of this year, higher than Baltimore’s total of 298 so far.
Violent crime is one issue that Second Amendment supporters need to address. While the mass shootings draw media attention, most murders happen one at a time, to say nothing of other violent crimes. Guess who the high rate of violent crime in those cities is blamed on? Not the politicians who have presided over the decline of great cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, and Chicago. It is law-abiding Americans who support the Second Amendment who get the blame.
The good news is that we know what works. You get tough on the violent criminals and put them away for a long time. When you look at 18 USC 924, there are some provisions that are so rarely used, it should be scandalous. Caught with a gun while dealing drugs? That’s a five-year mandatory minimum under 18 USC 924(c). For a career criminal (three violent felony or drug-related convictions) caught with a gun, 18 USC 924(e) provides for a 15-year mandatory minimum.
Now, here’s some bad news for many of those politicians.
The constant rate of violent crime and these scandalously underused tools can be an opening. The conditions have gone on for decades, and Second Amendment supporters have the example of how enforcing the laws can work in Project Exile’s implementation in Richmond, Virginia.
One of the signature cases involved Melvin Smith, who was busted with crack cocaine, a sawed-off shotgun, and a handgun. According to the New York Times, Smith got a 16-year sentence after the federal convictions and went to an out-of-state federal prison. He did have to come back to Richmond, where he was to face trial for six murders. The crime rate, notably murders, dropped.
A number of these politicians will oppose this – crying about incarceration rates. Well, here is a chance to turn Bloomberg’s rhetoric back on him. By fighting a nation-wide version of Project Exile, the politicians who oppose it will have the blood of children on their hands.
While Project Exile is not universally beloved among Second Amendment supporters, it could be the key to opening up urban residents to pro-Second Amendment arguments. Once the inaction of the politicians who have let urban areas fester for decades has been shown, it may be possible to earn the votes of those residents.
Here’s the deal with efforts to make the case in urban areas – we don’t need to win them outright to strengthen our Second Amendment rights significantly. We just need to reduce the margin by which we lose. For example, let’s look at the margins in Baltimore for the 2016 general election. Chris Van Hollen beat Kathy Szeliga by 164,513 votes in the Senate race.
Now, in Maryland, Van Hollen won by racking up huge margins in the DC suburbs of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. This makes that state a particular case but in many other states. In most other states, though, cutting the margin of defeat in the big metro area (Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, or Detroit) can make it easier to win the general election.
In a sense, though, Baltimore could be an ideal location to test efforts to win over urban voters to pro-Second Amendment positions. With the dominance of the DC suburbs, it would be the perfect place to perfect efforts that could shift the terrain in other states and improve the odds of electing pro-Second Amendment statewide candidates.
After all, what is there to lose with this effort if all we accomplish is lower crime?
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.