Yesterday’s Washington Times carried a piece by former National Rifle Association President David Keene, recalling how voters tossed out two anti-gun politicians last year for passing gun control laws, and while that seems like a victory, the laws remain on the books.
Keene suggested that anti-gun Gov. John Hickenlooper may be voted out of office as well in November, which gun rights activists will certainly see as a moral victory. But he ignores the problem of removing the onerous laws that brought about the recall of two Democrat state senators, the resignation of a third – to preserve party power – and may bring a change in the governor’s office.
If these victories do not bring a repeal of the laws that prompted public outrage, then they are only symbolic victories, which for years has been the exclusive realm of the gun prohibition lobby. What good is changing parties in power if the end result is no change in the laws, which means no change in direction for society? If a restrictive, do-nothing law remains on the books, what has really been accomplished?
Lawmakers elected on a pro-rights platform need to do more than talk change, they must accomplish change. A governor elected to replace an anti-gunner must offer a legislative package to represent the wishes of those who put him in office, and then carry through by repealing the offensive laws that ignited the will to change.
By no small coincidence, the Washington Times yesterday also had a lengthy story about how the Illinois concealed carry law – brought about by separate lawsuits filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the National Rifle Association – disarm the poor, especially blacks, because of the costs involved. The story noted, “Of right-to-carry states, Illinois has the highest registration and training fee, costing an applicant about $650 on average for fingerprinting, taxes and logistics — excluding the price of the gun.”
The story additionally revealed, “Illinois also has the longest training requirements of right-to-carry states, requiring potential licensees to take a 16-hour course that includes range time. There are no gun ranges within the city of Chicago, and carrying an unlicensed gun on public transportation is a crime.”
There should be no need for further evidence that gun control laws are at least partly racist in nature. The story quoted Shawn Gowder, a 49-year-old resident of the South Side Auburn Gresham neighborhood, who observed, “We need to arm ourselves and protect ourselves from these gangbangers, but we just can’t afford to do it.”
Ironically, the stories appeared on the day after the 29th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference concluded in Chicago. One of those in attendance was Rhonda Ezell, chief plaintiff in a SAF lawsuit against the Windy City, whose case successfully challenged the city’s original handgun licensing ordinance and opened the door requiring the city to allow gun shops and gun ranges within city limits. Ms. Ezell is one of those against whom Chicago’s gun ordinance, and the Illinois carry statute allegedly discriminate.
The real victory will be when the first gun ranges open for business within city limits. That will be something to celebrate.