Guns

Gun Lobby's Troubling Attempt to Overturn Chicago Handgun Ban

| by Freedom States Alliance

(The following is a joint press release from the
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Freedom States
Alliance).

The Illinois Council Against Handgun
Violence sharply criticized the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA)
and Illinois Carry for holding a public rally Friday calling for ending Chicago’s 27-year-old handgun ban only days after the tragic shooting of 9-year-old Chastity Turner
who was gunned down while bathing her dog in front of her own home.
Thirty-six Chicago Public School students were also killed during the
’09 school year in a continuing rash of gun violence.

Most
troubling is the language, tone and materials that pro-gun groups are
using to promote their rally in downtown Chicago. Ralph Connor, an
African-American conservative who will speak at the rally, continues to
preach a divisive message that “gun control is racist” and is eagerly
promoting a film that features him, called “No Guns for Negroes.”

The
ISRA finds itself in a hypocritical and difficult position playing the
race card as an argument to removing the city’s life-saving measure and
pushing for a carrying concealed weapons bill. Earlier this month, the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Chicago and Oak Park handgun bans
by a 3-0 decision. U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, joined by
Circuit Court Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, said they were
bound to follow the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling
on the Second Amendment not applying to states. All three federal judges were GOP appointees.

Yet in response, Hal Turner, an avid racist and internet radio host
from New Jersey was arrested for threatening to kill the three federal
judges who upheld Chicago’s handgun ban. Turner said, “”Let me be the
first to say this plainly; These judges deserve to be killed.”

“The
truth is that the gun lobby could care less about the impact that gun
violence has on Chicago, much less the devastating effects on the
African-American and Latino communities,” said Thom Mannard, Executive
Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “All the gun
lobby cares about is their blind and extremist ideology that wants to
force deadly and loaded guns into our communities, schools, parks,
shopping centers, hospitals, and daycare centers. If the gun lobby
really cared about stopping gun violence in our communities they would
stop promoting an agenda that makes it all too easy for gangbangers to
acquire guns that are used to kill innocent children like Chastity
Turner.”

In addition, gun homicides plague the African-American community. According to the Violence Policy Center the annual study, “Black Homicide Victimization in the United States” found that there were 7,425 black homicide victims in the United States.
The homicide rate for black victims in the United States was 20.27 per
100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide rate was 5.38 per
100,000 and the national homicide rate for whites was 3.14 per 100,000.

“The
truth is that the gun lobby are enablers of violence by stifling and
stopping life-saving reforms to enact stronger gun laws,” said Scott
Vogel, Communications Director for the Freedom States Alliance. “Gun
extremists preach their limited, narrow and selfish view of ‘their
rights’ without any regard to ‘our rights’ as members of a broad
community that want to live peacefully and free from the fear of gun
violence.”

Parents, victims and survivors of gun violence are
focusing on solutions to save lives, instead of debating divisive
racial politics with extremists who show no empathy for those killed by
gun violence,

“As a parent who has suffered the devastating
effects of gun violence in my family, I urge our lawmakers to gain the
political will and moral capacity to support common sense gun
regulations,” said Ron Holt, the founder and President of
PurposeOverPain.org, and whose son Blair was shot and killed on a CTA
bus by an armed teen. “If our lawmakers could hear, see, and feel the
pain that we as parents who have lost a child to gun violence, then
maybe they would understand that we need thoughtful solutions to our
gun violence crisis.”