Here’s a statement that came out of Capitol Hill Wednesday that bears some scrutiny by an enterprising police reporter from the Magnolia State: Over the last 10 to 12 years, Mississippi supplied one out of 10 firearms seized in crime investigations in Chicago.
So how the heck have we missed knowing what big contributors we’ve been to the Al Capone-like shootouts that have returned to the streets of Chicago?
Somebody has got be elected scapegoat, and it looks as though Mississippi is getting the nomination.
Here’s Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois explaining why the sins of the people of Chicago must be laid upon us:
“When you take a look at where these guns come from, 25 percent plus are sold in the surrounding towns around the city of Chicago, not in the city. Look over the last 10 or 12 years. Of the 50,000 guns confiscated in crimes, almost one out of 10 crime guns in Chicago came to that city from Mississippi. Why? Because the background checks there, the gun dealers there, are a lot easier than in other places. And they end up selling these guns in volume.”
If that’s true, “those guns were stolen and taken up there,” said a proprietor of a gun shop on Old Canton Road in Jackson who is not yet ready to cop to Durbin’s charge..
Those Mississippi background checks? They’re the same ones run in Illinois, New York, New Mexico, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and the rest of the states.
The Feds take care of that bit of business, and in this state you had better bring a Mississippi driver’s license if a handgun is what you’re wanting. You can’t get the federal check run on you without that photo and driver’s license information.
A rifle? You’ll still need a driver’s license but it can be from any of the states.
What Illinois and Mississippi do share are those non-existent background checks at gun shows that allow private, unlicensed sellers to set up vendor booths and make deals with no questions asked. The transaction is all cash-and-carry. So answer this: Why when it’s so easy to buy your criminal enterprise hardware at your corner gun show with no questions asked are you going to drive 12 hours down I-55 from Chicago to Mississippi?
A quick Google brings us this fact: The Land of Lincoln is the place to be if you wanna buy a gun where no one knows your name.
Gun Show Trader – which bills itself as presenter of the largest gun show list for 2013 – shows 27 gun shows for Illinois from Feb. 2 through Dec. 22.
Mississippi? Gun Show Trader lists six.
As a business journalist keenly interested in how markets work, I suppose I’d want Sen. Durbin to give me the lowdown on why he thinks that gun dealers indigenous to the Magnolia State are “a lot easier than in other places… and they end up selling these guns in volume.”
Even with the dime’s worth of knowledge I have about economics, I think I can testify that greed is a character flaw that’s pretty much spread out evenly among the 50 states (Well, OK, yes, Wall Street has always had it in epidemic proportions).
Maybe Durbin did hit on a truth, though he probably didn’t mean to.
Greed drives the mounting gun-related deaths in Chicago. Drugs, gang turf, the desire to take what someone else has – greed is where these things grow.
And it grows with the greed of politicians too accustomed to campaign cash infusions from the firearms industry and the National Rifle Association to close the gun-show loophole on private sales or to insist that the emotionally unhinged among us not be armed and dangerous.
Why bother with that business when you’ve got a convenient scapegoat in Dixie.