The loudest advocates of gun control are well protected. President Obama said he wants more laws restricting firearms ownership because, in his hometown of Chicago, “there’s an awful lot of violence, and they’re not using AK-47s, they’re using cheap handguns.” With his own armed Secret Service detail, the president doesn’t need to worry about crime.
Illinois State Sen. Donne Trotter takes the hypocrisy up a notch. On Wednesday, Mr. Trotter was arrested on felony charges after attempting to board a plane at O’Hare International Airport with a loaded .25-caliber Beretta.
The South Side Democrat, who has been the leading candidate to fill the congressional seat vacated by scandal-plagued Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., claimed that he forgot to take the gun out of his garment bag after working his security job. Illinois is the only state in the union that denies citizens all rights to bear arms, but Mr. Trotter got himself an exception — a special permit to pack heat to and from his side gig.
Since he was first elected in 1988, Mr. Trotter has voted against legislation that would grant other Illinois citizens the right to concealed carry. He also voted “present” on a bill that would have reduced the penalty on carrying a concealed weapon. In his official biography, he describes himself as “an advocate of gun control” who “ushered in Illinois’ first comprehensive law banning assault weapons.”
“This is the kind of hypocrisy that fuels the mistrust of politicians by gun owners,” Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb told The Washington Times. The organization has been backing legal challenges designed to force Illinois to recognize carry rights for all residents.
“Trotter and many other anti-gun Democrats don’t trust people with firearms but flaunt the very laws they want to impose on the rest of us,” said Mr. Gottlieb. After a night in jail, Mr. Trotter is out on bond. He says he’s still running for Congress.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports’ Bob Costas continued his national media tour calling for gun bans with arguments that don’t hold up to scrutiny. On Wednesday, he told Fox News, “I don’t see any reason why someone should be able to purchase military-style artillery and body armor and automatic weapons.”
Though the show’s host, Bill O’Reilly, replied that those were “reasonable positions,” automatic guns are already highly regulated by the federal government. They aren’t used by criminals. A spokesman for NBC Sports did not respond to questions about whether security guards are armed at NBC network broadcast locations.
Mr. Costas expanded on his theme by saying, “Far more often, bad things happen — including unintentional things — than things where the presence of a gun diminishes or averts danger.” He’s only telling half the story. About 30,000 people are killed by firearms, but guns are are also used to prevent crimes approximately 2 million times a year.
“There have never been more firearms in civilian possession in America than there are today,” Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Washington Times. “Yet crime is at its lowest level since the early 1960s. Firearm accidents are at their lowest level since recordkeeping began in 1903. Perhaps Mr. Costas should focus on his area of expertise instead of pontificating on subjects of which he is embarrassingly ignorant.”
There’s a reason for the weak arguments and hypocrisy. These activists aren’t actually interested in reducing crime, they want more government control over our lives. That’s precisely why the Founding Fathers enshrined our right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.