Just a few days ago, I had the opportunity to speak to some of our nation's finest law enforcement officers who had gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the NRA's National Police Shooting Championship.
This year's competition was bigger than ever, with hundreds of officers from across the country and around the world taking part. It's all a part of the NRA's Law Enforcement Division, which helps provide training and assistance to agencies from coast to coast.
Our nation's cops are dealing with budget shortfalls and layoffs, and many departments are woefully understaffed. That puts an added stress on the officers on the street, who are constantly told to do more with less.
Sadly, in many jurisdictions, these men and women put their lives on the line to bust bad guys, only to see them out on the street in a matter of days or weeks. These cops don't just see the revolving door of our criminal justice system first-hand, they're put at risk by the number of violent criminals sent back to the streets without ever facing justice.
In Chicago, for instance, 90 percent of non-fatal shootings go unpunished. In Philadelphia, criminals are routinely arrested, only to have their cases kept in a legal limbo. Their charges aren't dropped, but neither are they prosecuted, and the end result is that violent criminals who should be behind bars get off scot-free ... until they commit a crime heinous enough to make the front page of the local paper.
In both cities, we've seen officers killed in the line of duty by men who had no business being out on the street. And in both cities, local politicians seem paralyzed by lethargy or indifference. Oh sure, when an officer pays the ultimate price these politicians will hold a news conference to show how angry they are. They'll say they're going to get tough on these criminals. And then nothing changes.
Our cops deserve better. We have to fight for those who protect us in the line of duty, because they can't fight these battles alone.