USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- In a paper published at Loyola University Chicago, describing the make-up of people convicted for firearms possession, few surprises are found. These are the major findings listed in the executive summary of the paper, published in July of 2021. From luc.edu:
1) The majority of felony firearm possession convictions in Illinois occur in Cook County, primarily involve Black men, and are disproportionately concentrated in specific Chicago neighborhoods;
2) The majority—52%–of felony firearm possession convictions in Illinois involved Class X, 2, or 3 felony offenses of a person with a prior felony conviction possessing a firearm; 34% involved a Class 4 felony offense;
3) For the least serious felony firearm possession offense (e.g., a Class 4 felony), one-third (33%) of the statewide convictions stemmed from arrests in 11 of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. Of those convicted of a Class 4 felony firearm possession offense, 74% were 18-24 year-olds;
4) As a result of increased arrests, and mandatory prison sentences for most firearm possession offenses, prison admissions for these crimes increased 27% between 2014 and 2019, while admissions for all other crimes fell 38%;
5) Legislative changes in 2011 and 2018 to Class 4 felony firearm possession offenses primarily impacted sentencing practices in Cook County;
6) Of those firearm possession offenses where prison is not mandatory under all circumstances (i.e., the Class 4 felony offenses), those convicted in Cook County were more likely to be sentenced to prison than in the rest of Illinois;
7) The vast majority of those sentenced to prison for firearm possession offenses were not arrested for a violent crime within 3 years of release from prison. Having a prior conviction for a violent crime was a stronger predictor of a subsequent arrest for a violent crime, and the majority of those convicted and sentenced to prison for firearm possession offenses do not have prior convictions for violent crimes;
8) Those sentenced to probation or prison in Cook County for a Class 4 firearm possession offense had similar, and relatively low, rates of arrests for a violent crime within 3 years of sentencing after taking into account other characteristics correlated with recidivism, including age, sex, and prior criminal history.
Many young black men are being arrested for firearms possession. These men are mostly from the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States. Most of these men would rather take the chance of being arrested compared to the chance of being defenseless when attacked. Some of these cases are arrests when the firearm is being used in defense of self and others. We do not know the percentage.
On Monday, 22 March, in Chicago, 15 people were recorded as being shot. Three of them were killed. One of those shot is recorded as acting in self-defense, on the South Side of Chicago.
In the gun culture, the phrase is: better tried by 12 than carried by 6.
Many of the arrests are for not having a Firearms Owner Identification card (FOID). The requirement to apply to the state to obtain permission to own a firearm is repugnant to the Second Amendment. From AmmoLand.com:
Judge T. Scott Webb, of White County, Illinois, Found the requirement to obtain a (FOID) before owning a firearm in Illinois, to be unconstitutional.
Gun Control in the United States has racist roots. The purpose of gun control was to disarm disfavored minorities, so the establishment could better control them. At first, this was mostly applied to black people. As time went on, it was applied to more and more people.
Black people have been severely discriminated against in their legal ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Once someone is convicted of felony gun possession, their chance of ever regaining their ability to legally exercise Second Amendment rights is almost non-existent.
This sets up a vicious feedback loop, where people in dysfunctional black communities do not trust the police. They do not get FOID cards or concealed carry licenses. They are arrested for carrying for self-defense. They are now felons. The distrust of the police and the system grows.
Shall issue permits only started gaining ground in the late 1980s. Constitutional Carry stated increasing in 2003.
The establishment in Chicago has done everything it can to perpetuate this cycle. There is not a single public range in Chicago, because of local government restrictions. Certified shooting instruction is required to obtain a concealed carry permit in Illinois. The wait time for concealed carry permits and FOID cards is measured in months, approaching years. For a young man of 18, who faces daily threats to his life in the worst of Chicago neighborhoods, carrying legally becomes an impossibility.
Because legal carry and training are exceedingly arduous in Chicago, maintaining a gun culture of responsibility and training becomes difficult, unlike much of the rest of the United States.
Training and legal exercise of Second Amendment rights could help reverse this cycle. From foxnews.com:
After last week’s appearance at CPAC, Toure told Politico that he began advocating for gun rights in the inner cities after seeing friends locked up for avoidable gun possession charges. He wants to continue the legacy of Malcolm X, the black nationalist who was assassinated in 1965, who expressed softer views on race following his pilgrimage to the holy Muslim city of Mecca.
“We go where there’s high violence, high crime, high gun control — high slave mentalities, to be perfectly honest — and inform urban America about their human right, as stated in the Second Amendment, to defend their life,” Toure told the magazine.
In spite of the barriers, some black people in the dysfunctional neighborhoods are legally arming themselves. They serve as examples of how people can protect themselves legally and have the police as allies instead of adversaries. Former Police Chief James Craig in Detroit, and Sheriff Clarke in Milwaukee County, earned much praise for championing concealed carry as a way to stop crime.
Trust in the police is paramount. Trust has to be earned. It is a feedback loop. Where there is trust in the police, crime drops too low levels. Where police are not trusted, crime rises astronomically.
The BLM and Antifa platforms seem calculated to destroy trust in the police. They appear designed to move the United States from a high trust nation to a low trust nation.
Examples of high trust nations would be Switzerland or Canada. Examples of low-trust nations would be Mexico or South Africa.
It is possible to have a high trust nation like the United States, with pockets of low trust communities, such as we exist today. Those who wish to see the United States in chaos or destroyed, are working hard to increase and spread distrust.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.