Is Chicago a Gun Crime Sanctuary City?

In her confrontation with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over guns used in Chicago crimes, which, as Cruz pointed out in response to the Dayton and El Paso shootings, occur in a city which has its own mass murder equivalent virtually every weekend, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed guns brought in from Republican-controlled states: As the Daily Caller reported:

Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed Republicans for gun violence in her city Monday night, telling Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to “keep our name out of your mouth,” and posting a chart that claimed 60% of guns recovered in Chicago come from out of state…

“60% of illegal firearms recovered in Chicago come from outside IL -- mostly from states dominated by coward Republicans like you who refuse to enact commonsense gun legislation,” Lightfoot said. “Keep our name out of your mouth.”

Hypocrisy has a new poster child for what Lightfoot fails to note is that what is important is not where the weapons came from, but what happened to the gun criminals and gangbangers afterword, if apprehended at all, which in Lightfoot’s Chicago has been virtually nothing.

Lightfoot should talk to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who has been highly critical of the courts and gun law enforcement. As the Chicago Tribune editorial board recently noted:

A new Chicago Police Department website, the Gun Offender Dashboard, publicizes data about adults charged with gun crimes, including already public information about how the courts handled bail for those defendants. The site lists the defendant’s name, arrest date, charge, and whether he or she posted a full cash bond, 10% of that amount or was released without posting any money.

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s motivation for the website is his concern that judges allow too many alleged gun offenders to stay out of jail while they await trial. All too often, he says, they get back on the street and commit another weapons offense.

Johnson cites these statistics to make his case: Of the 4,311 people arrested in 2018 on a felony weapons charge, 5.5% were released pending trial and then rearrested on another felony weapons offense. The overall rearrest rate (for any charge) for individuals arrested on a felony weapons charge and then released pending trial was 34%.

A lot of criminals shouldn’t be out on Chicago’s streets, particularly those convicted of gun crimes. Many gun and gang crimes in Chicago are drug related.  President Obama commuted the sentences of many drug offenders, including those who possessed a gun during the commission of their crimes:

President Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of nearly 100 federal inmates doing hard time, and almost one in five were in jail partially because of the illegal guns they carried…

Of those who had their terms commuted this week, 19 were behind bars on a combination of drug charges that also involved firearms possession– often multiple counts– usually by a prohibited possessor…

The President commuted 111 federal prisoners in late August, in which a number of those with firearms charges were featured. Earlier the same month he did likewise for 214 inmates including 56 with gun felonies.

Eddie Johnson recently pleaded for stricter penalties for repeat gun offenders after a Chicago Police commander was gunned down:

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson renewed his call on Friday for stricter penalties for gun offenders after a police commander was shot at while working on the South Side…

The violence hit close to home late Thursday when Noel Sanchez, commander of the South Chicago police district, was shot at while working the streets in the 8800 block of South Saginaw Avenue. The gunman fled to a nearby home, touching off an hours-long standoff with a SWAT team before five people were taken into custody early Friday. Multiple guns were also recovered.

Johnson cited the incident as an example of how gang members have become more emboldened, in part because of what the superintendent considers lenient penalties for gun offenses…

Johnson spoke once again in favor of proposed legislation in Springfield designed to make it harder for judges to impose light sentences for repeat gun offenders. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that they face several years in prison.

He singled out a 21-year-old man as an example of why the legislation is needed. The man was arrested in February on a felony weapons violation and sentenced to seven years in prison in April, police said. But he was assigned to boot camp and was already out on parole Aug. 22 when he was arrested again for gun possession in the West Side's Austin community.

Much of Chicago’s gun violence stems from gangbangers, particularly those imported from south of the border, and from the steady supply of illegal drugs that are a consequence of open borders. It is called “gun violence” when it is in fact gang violence fueled by drug trafficking. As Katie Pavlich writes at TownHall:

As the violence in Chicago's gang plagued neighborhoods rages on, the underlying cause of the Windy City's murder rampages can be found thousands of miles away along a porous border. According to a report from Breitbart's Jeremy Segal, Mexican drug cartels are "allowed" to run Chicago's streets and young African-American men are killing each other as a result.

Harold “Noonie” Ward, a former high-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples, one of America’s largest street gangs, claims the deadly violence that is plaguing Rahm Emanuel’s “world class city” of Chicago is because Mexican drug cartels are being allowed by “the powers that be” to operate freely and “run” Chicago’s streets.

In an interview with Breitbart News outside of his childhood home, a now-condemned apartment in Altgeld Gardens, one of Chicago’s most well known housing projects, Ward explained that there are a number of issues leading to the bloodshed in the city. The greatest reason, Ward says, is drugs and how they are being brought into the city.“Where the drugs are coming from is Mexican cartels,” Ward said. “From Mexico to Chicago, they make $3.5 billion dollars a year. And the majority of violence in Chicago, comes from the Mexican cartels.”

Perhaps Lightfoot can explain the revealing fact that under President Barack Obama prosecutions for federal gun crimes in his hometown of Chicago were almost nonexistent. It is hypocritical to call for commonsense gun laws when existing gun laws have traditionally not been enforced in Chicago As Investor’s Business Daily pointed out in its  2013 editorial, “Obama’s Chicago Dead Last In Federal Gun Prosecutions”, at a White House town hall with Chicago gun victims, President Obama left out a few details:

Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, the mother of murdered 15-year-old Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, was one of 20 mothers who lost children to criminal violence who were at the White House last Thursday to hear President Obama speak once again on the need for gun control…

But President Obama did not tell this group that Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) shows that the Northern Illinois district ranked 90th out of 90 in prosecutions of federal weapons crimes per capita….

To Lightfoot’s point that Chicago gun crimes are largely imported, consider that her city, where most gun crime is gang-related, is a sanctuary city run by gangs who battle for turf in drug wars fueled by Mexican drug cartels. Those charged with gun crimes are caught and released, that is, if they are caught at all. Her policies are importing gun criminals to prey on Chicago’s innocent. Just compare the shootings in El Paso vs. Chicago this Monday.

Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

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