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CARTER: Target greed — not Mississippi — for Chicago's mounting gun tragedies


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.



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About Ted Carter


  1. You started out pretty good but then showed your ignorance.
    The so-called “gun show loophole” is a figment of the fevered imaginations of leftists and the dupes who listen to them. The laws are exactly the same at gun shows as they are anywhere else. If you buy a gun from a FFL dealer you get a background check-whether its in his store or at a gun show. (I’ve bought several guns at gun shows and had a background check every time) If you are not in the business of selling guns, and therefor not a licensed dealer, no background check is required to dispose of your personal property-in your own home or at a gun show.
    If you think greed for campaign cash from NRA is why sane politicians oppose further infringements on a clearly enumerated right you know nothing about the dedication of pro 2A activists and voters. Our rights are not the problem. Freedom is not the problem. The destruction wrought by those who would disarm a free people is the problem.

  2. There are perhaps 6 annual gun shows in Jackson alone. Statewide, there are many more. But background checks are still required at all gun shows nationwide if the seller is a dealer, just like any other sale, whether or not at a show. The law doesn’t change for shows. Durbin might also consider the direct “underground railroad” between Mississippi and Illinois, especially Chicago, created as a result of racial abuse issues. Maybe the correlation has nothing to do with gun laws and everything to do with the amount of commuting done between these areas. But that would require thinking, something in short supply in both Washington and Chicago.

  3. I still don’t hear an explanation as to why 10% of Chicago’s guns are from Mississippi. If it’s so easy in Illinois, why are they coming from MS?
    Gun violence in Chicago is a result of unemployment, lack of job training, lackluster education, lack of mental health services, and most importantly segregation. Not to mention the fact that criminals thrive in a densely populated metropolis. But, Chicago’s homicide rate, though still high, is below the top 10 in the US.

  4. As Steve pointed out, Mr. Carter, you started off so well! You make some really excellent points, but then you break down. I suppose hack writers with knee-jerk reactions to firearms must always let their urges overwhelm them in one way or another. The internet is really a wonderful tool, sir, and you would do well to educate yourself on the supposed “gun show loophole.” Why, even some of your fine commenters have provided explanations that are more than adequate to disabuse you of this silly notion. I hope both you and Senator Durbin see the error of your ways. Cheers!

  5. This editorial by Ted Carter is factually mistaken. Mr. Carter writes: “what Illinois and Mississippi do share are those non-existent background checks at gun shows;” however in fact Illinois is one of six states that require background checks for all gun sales at gun shows, thanks to a law (Illinois SB1333) passed five years ago (go ahead, Google it!).

    Unfortunately, Mr. Carter didn’t bother to spend a minute or two checking the facts online, before launching a misinformed personal attack on Mr. Durbin. I hope Mr. Carter, will correct this article, and apologize to his employers, the readers of the Mississippi Business blog, and Mr. Durbin and the people of Illinois. Moreover, I hope that he will learn two things: 1) to check facts more carefully before discrediting the Mississippi Business Blog and embarrassing the State of Mississippi by spouting misinformation, and 2) that laws requiring background checks at gun shows don’t put gun shows out of business. As he correctly notes, Illinois has quite a few gun shows, despite requiring those background checks that encourage Chicago gang members to purchase guns in states like Mississippi, which at present lack responsible gun laws.

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