It barely made headlines earlier this month. A man with an assault rifle fired at a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line train around noon on a weekday in Chicago's busy downtown. Police arrested Lorenzo Jones, 25, preventing what might have become Chicago's own Long Island Rail Road Massacre (in which 6 were killed and 19 wounded in 1993). Jones had an extensive arrest record but also a valid Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOID) said police. He had carried 60 rounds of ammunition.
A chilling Chicago Police Department report in May disclosed that almost 60 percent of crime guns recovered in Chicago were originally sold in states with weaker laws and suspect Jones' weapon was a case in point. It came from Indiana as did a weapon with which two Chicago police officers were also shot earlier in the month. According to the police report Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi "all permit gun owners to sell their guns to other people without any background checks of the new buyer or paperwork recording the sale." The citizens of Chicago thank you.
In the upcoming election, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is challenged by dairyman State Sen. Jim Oberweis and Gov. Pat Quinn is challenged by entrepreneur Bruce Rauner. But despite thousands of gun deaths in Illinois and a daily blood bath in Chicago, the challengers hew to the NRA party line on gun laws that things are just fine.
Sen. Oberweis told the Chicago Tribune editorial board this month he has not seen "evidence" that background checks would reduce crime. More than 2.1 million illegal gun sales, including 1 million attempted purchases by convicted felons, have been stopped by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in two decades, the Washington Post reported in February. Guns sold without background checks represent 40 percent of all sales.
Sen. Oberweis also repeated the NRA's favorite fiction: gun laws don't work. Chicago's gun violence problem persists despite Illinois having some of the "nation's toughest gun laws," Sen. Oberweis told the board, conveniently leaving Indiana, Wisconsin, Mississippi and gun friendly counties out of the equation. Days later a gun from Indiana was used to shoot at a CTA train.
Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner supports citizens owning assault weapons such as the one used to shoot at a CTA train.
Janey Rountree of the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel elaborated on Chicago's gun trafficking problem at the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Summit this month in Chicago, hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. She said Chicago's "non-gun murder" rate is similar to New York, Los Angeles and other large cities while its gun murder rate is sky high, thanks to illegal gun trafficking from gun-friendly states. "Our murder rate would drop to a tenth," said Rountree without the infusion of trafficked guns.
And there is another way the candidates echo the NRA. Both assail high taxes but ignore the "gun tax" everyone in the city of Chicago pays because gun owners are not required to have insurance. According to ABC 7 Chicago, taxpayers pay about $52,000 per gunshot victim, most of whom are uninsured. In 2011, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital alone, the county's Level 1 trauma center, saw 670 gunshot victims.
Tell corporate America to get off the "sidelines" and take a stand against gun violence including "can't miss" sniper weapons sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.