The anti-gun left has taken their misguided fight to destroy the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves to the local level. In so doing, they have met heavy resistance from officials in a number of states who refuse to back down, and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is not a part of that resistance.
He was quoted by the Illinois News Network saying, “We cannot prosecute and incarcerate our way out of the gun violence impacting many communities across the state.”
This would seem like a pro-2nd Amendment statement on the surface. But what Raoul is really saying is that laws aimed at punishing those who commit crimes using guns are not enough. He apparently believes that gun bans have the magic power to make guns disappear. So, he would rather impose harsh restrictions on gun ownership.
Raoul rose to prominence when he filled the Senate seat Barack Obama left behind after moving on to the White House. Now, as the Illinois state AG, he’s taking Obama style liberalism to the local level.
Like Obama, Raoul has severely misguided ideas about the facts of gun violence and prevention. He says that laws punishing the perpetrators of gun crime are not effective. Yet there are reams of evidence that they are effective.
The 10-20-Life sentencing enhancement put into place in Florida, for example, reduced that state’s gun crime to all-time lows. The provisions of that statute meant offenders who possess a gun while committing a crime get an additional ten years. Gun criminals were given no probation, parole, or plea deals. If the criminal fired the gun while committing a crime, they would get 20 years. And if anyone was hurt by the discharged gun during the commission of the crime, the offender would get between 25 years and life.
Of course, Florida has stood out as an example of (actually) progressive gun laws in recent years with legislation that supports legal gun owners while punishing criminals for crimes. Another great example is the Stand Your Ground law which allows legal gun carriers to resist a violent aggressor and not be legally required to retreat before using deadly force.
By contrast, Illinois has earned a reputation for catching and releasing violent criminals rather than imposing real legal deterrents. Violent home invaders are frequently given probation and set loose on the communities that they have already terrorized.
In one high profile instance, a violent home invader was convicted, given a few months of jail time and released on probation. Just two weeks later, he killed an off duty police officer and wounded another.
In Illinois, convictions for offenders brandishing weapons are not uncommon. What is common is that they go through a revolving prison door, and quickly hit the streets looking for new victims. Now, if you wanted to be cynical about it, you could say that this is being done on purpose so that crime stats can be misused to make gun ownership look like an unmitigated evil.
And this is exactly what Illinois AG Raoul is doing.
The gun control conversation in the Prairie State at the moment is way off the mark. Debates are framed around the fact that gun crime is prosecuted heavily- and that’s the data they cite. But at the same time, the actual punishments are exceedingly light. This makes it possible for Illinois to have both apparently strict gun-crime laws and a high crime stat profile.
This makes it possible for citizens to be fooled and for politicians to pretend to be fooled. But criminals know the truth- that gun crime is not adequately punished.
In other words, what we have here in Mr. Raoul is a state AG who would prefer that law-abiding citizens be deprived of their ability to own guns for self-defense over adequately punishing those who commit crimes using guns.
The formula that he and people like him are prescribing to the rest of the country involve a disarmed law-abiding citizenry that is burdened by a population of prison-hardened, convicted criminals who know they will receive only light punishment for their next crime.
Worse still, permissive gun crime laws make it more likely that younger would-be criminals will get involved in violent crime. The way it works is when the risks are low- would-be criminals take the bet. This is a formula for killing law abiding citizens.
If you were a person in power, and you wanted to kill Americans- you could hardly think of a subtler way to do it.