Progressive urban leaders are ramping up efforts to “defund” the police, put convicted violent felons back on the street while refusing to prosecute or even enforce laws against burglary, shoplifting and drug crimes.
Then these same progressives blame the rising crime and homicide rates in their cities not on their policies, but on guns.
Despite reams of evidence to the contrary, They, like President Biden, claim to believe restricting firearms will solve crime. Recent shootings in Colorado, Chicago and New York, jurisdictions with some of the toughest firearms control laws in the nation leads them not to question the efficacy of what they have enacted, but to demand that others follow in their footsteps.
Last week after two innocent women and a four-year-old child were gunned down in broad daylight in Times Square, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the city’s skyrocketing homicide rate on distant jurisdictions’ lack of New York-like gun control laws.
It’s a familiar refrain. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his predecessors blamed that city’s violence not on their blatant failure to enforce existing firearms laws, but on Indiana’s failure to pass new ones. I always wondered at the underlying assumption that guns in the hands of Indiana gun owners weren’t often used to wreak havoc in Indiana but could magically turn otherwise peaceful Chicagoans into bloodthirsty, gun-wielding thugs.
Mr. de Blasio and his progressive allies have demoralized the police and cut the police budget this year alone by about a billion dollars. They fail to see a connection between a weakened police presence on their streets and the 44% increase in the homicides since last year. That rate would be even higher, but New York’s firearm-wielding criminals are apparently not particularly good shots. They wound more of their fellow citizens than they kill as shootings within the city have increased by 97% during this same period.
Cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York allow gun-toting criminals off more easily than other places while blaming law abiding gun owners, the laws of other states and the Second Amendment for the failures of their policies. A felon in possession of an illegal firearm is far more likely to be prosecuted in Indiana than in Chicago.
The Windy City’s leaders are more interested in attacking what they like to call the “root causes” of crime and violence than in pursuing, arresting, and prosecuting those who rape, rob, and murder their constituents. They are convinced of two things that defy logic and just aren’t true; that guns not criminals are the problem and that it is the policies of others rather than theirs that are responsible for the collapse of their cities.
Baltimore is Chicago and New York on steroids. The city’s political leaders, those not yet themselves serving time for their own crimes, have for decades pursued policies that have made Baltimore a hunting preserve for criminals and gang bangers. The homicide rate in Baltimore is 10 times the national average. The newly elected mayor claims the continual violence in the city “proves” that since police cannot handle crime, the police budget should be gutted.
Baltimore’s death spiral began in the late-1990s when then-Mayor Martin O’Malley, who later served as Maryland’s governor and ran for president, got everything about law enforcement wrong, according to a recent analysis by City Journal. Mr. O’Malley’s successor decided to cover a budget shortfall by cutting police pay and driving veteran city cops into retirement. That was not enough. She cut the size of the force even more, leading to the resignation of her police commissioner and another surge in the city’s homicide rate.
Since then, Baltimoreans have not only been murdering each other in increasing numbers but doing so with relative impunity. According to the Maryland Public Policy Institute, in 2017 only 12% of murder, attempted murder or conspiracy to murder cases resulted in a guilty plea or conviction. The following year only 18% of gun crime arrestees were found guilty. And those percentages are for those actually arrested. Many Baltimore murders don’t even lead to an arrest.
• David A. Keene, former president of the National Rifle Association, is an editor at large for The Washington Times.
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