I have nothing against deer hunters. Or duck hunters. Or quail hunters. I have never actually hunted a deer or a duck or a quail myself. If I were hungry enough, I would, but there’s always food on the shelves of my neighborhood Dominick’s, so I haven’t needed to. I do enjoy catching and eating fish, on the rare occasions I actually manage to hook one.
I do, however, resent it when groups such as the Illinois State Rifle Association, which claims to speak for the state’s sportsmen, try to impose gun laws that may make sense in rural areas on one of the nation’s largest, most complicated cities, where they make no sense at all.
As Chicago struggles with a gang problem that has made us first in the nation in the murders, folks from places such as Marion, Metamora and Mount Vernon have helpfully tried to pass laws making it easier to carry a gun in Chicago. They say it’s for our own protection. One such law would allow Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons. This would certainly make it easier for gangbangers to sneak up on rival gang members, whip out a pistol from under their jackets, and shoot them in the head.
I suppose conceal carry would also make deer hunting easier. Instead of hiding in a tree stand with a rifle, a deer hunter could simply walk around in the woods with a Glock under his orange jacket. Then, as soon as he saw a deer, he could whip out his pistol and shoot it in the head, just like a Vice Lord shooting an Insane Gangster Disciple.
It would not, however, make life in the city any easier. The more weapons are available, the more gangs will stockpile, in an arms race to outgun their rivals.
Conservative America’s latest scheme to make urban America safer is to do away with licenses and training programs that place an unfair financial burden on the poor. Here’s former University of Chicago professor John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, writing on Fox News’s website:
Can poor people be trusted with guns? Overwhelmingly, Republicans thinks so. But while Democrats fight against taxes on the poor and oppose voter photo IDs because they impose too much of burden, they seem to be doing everything possible – from fees, expensive training requirements, and photo IDs -- to make it next to impossible for the poor to own guns.
Indeed, legislation in at least 17 states around the country is aimed specifically at making it more costly to own a gun. Democrats are voting in mass against exempting the poor from fees when it comes to guns. New Yorkers aren't alone facing everything from registration fees to buying liability insurance.
That's too bad, because many law-abiding citizens, particularly minorities in crime-ridden neighborhoods really do need a gun for self-defense.
Actually, the greatest expense in gun ownership is the gun itself. So if Republicans are serious about arming the urban poor, they should either pass tax credits for gun purchases, or vouchers that low-income Americans could use toward the purchase of a gun, the way we all got vouchers for digital TV converters. Those, however, would be two more laws that would do Chicago no good.