Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office sent out a press release today calling for "sensible gun laws." He attended a rally focusing on the deaths of 21 students at Chicago public schools during the past year.
The governor called on legislators to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. People in the crowd cheered.
Yet none of the 21 shooting victims was killed with assault weapons. Petty crooks don’t pay $1,500 or more for weapons that cannot be concealed.
There was a national assault weapon ban in place for about 10 years. It began during the Clinton administration and ended several years ago. Almost no crimes were committed in the U.S. with military-style weapons before the ban, during the ban or since the ban. The ban also created a problem for lawmakers who tried to define an assault weapon and found that they also outlawed several firearms they had not intended to target.
Big cities certainly have public safety issues, yet many of the groups that don’t care about protecting the rights of gun owners fight tirelessly against giving law enforcement the technology that would let officers "see" who is carrying an illegally concealed firearm. (The U.S. military and homeland security already have systems that can spot weapons through use of thermal scans.)
Whatever a person’s views on firearms, it makes no sense to launch a public campaign to fix a problem by taking on something that’s not causing the problem.