Gun grabbers in Cleveland ignore criminals and focus on your guns

By Jim Irvine

On December 2, I attended an anti-gun advocacy lecture where Boston Mayor Thomas Menino joined Cleveland city council members and others to convince uneducated citizens that they need more gun control. They assert that making the current actions of law-abiding gun owners criminal would somehow aid them in catching real criminals.

Every person on the panel spoke of “illegal guns” and the need to get them off the street. Lori O’Neill of “Citizens for Safety” (who after Ohio's concealed handgun law was passed started a business to profit on fear - fear of law-abiding citizens which she had worked to generate) finally defined an illegal gun as being one that is in possession of a person who could not legally own the gun. It was refreshing to know that these “illegal guns” could be completely “rehabilitated” simply by placing them back in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

Curiously not one person talked about the illegal actions of individuals with guns. They repeatedly asked, “Where did the gun come from?” Of course the real question is “Where did the criminal come from?” Remember that this lecture was not about crime, it was about guns – your guns.

There was no indication that anyone in attendance was concerned with “illegal” cars or phones or hammers that criminals use in the commission of crimes. If they really cared about the carnage on the streets they should be equally concerned about all the ways criminals kill and injure people and everything that a criminal illegally possesses. Of course Mayor Menino does not care about any of that – he cares about taking your gun away from you – and he traveled all the way here from Boston to in the name of Mayor Bloomberg to do it. You should be concerned.

Mayor Menino spoke of how drugs and guns are inescapably linked. Reference was made that you don't find one without the other. I have many friends with many guns, and I don't see them linked in any way to drugs. But if the mayor is successful in tying your guns with drug dealers, he can demonize you in the eyes of anyone who agrees that drug dealers are bad people.

Guilty by association. When you have no facts, push emotional buttons. The anti-gun playbook is old and predictable.

Ms. O’Neill and Robinson asked that anyone in the audience who either knew someone or was personally effected by gun violence to stand up.

Three people in the front row stood up. They were together. One of these ladies was a mother. Her son was murdered by someone with a gun almost two years ago. The murder is still unsolved and she is frustrated. While she is living through another Christmas season without her son, the killer has not been brought to justice. She has every right to be angry. I pray I never experience the pain she feels, but if I must bear such a cross, I can only hope to do so as gracefully and honorably as she has.

In the course of my advocacy for gun owners I have had the honor of hearing many firsthand stories of people affected by gun violence. None of the people I knew were happy about being put in a position where they needed to use a gun, especially those who shot their attacker. But each of them is grateful that they were armed and able to not only survive their encounter, but in most cased win the fight. As I was already standing in the back of the room, I simply remained standing.

The group in the front row was recognized and then Ms. O’Neill said something that deeply offended me. Identifying those standing, (myself included) she said, “It is our goal that no one else has their experience.”

While I certainly don't want other mothers to lose their sons, I sure as heck hope that crime victims like the ones I know continue to win their battles with violent criminals. That is the whole point behind concealed carry!

I will give O’Neill the benefit of the doubt, and hope she was referring only to the people who lost a loved one to violent crime and not those who successfully fought back with a gun to save their own life, but it is interesting to note that she personally crusaded against concealed carry and your right to have a gun available for self-defense. She continues to be unwilling to acknowledge all the people saved by the proper use of guns.

Much was made of closing the so-called “gun show loophole.” These are words of danger to any gun owner. Why you might ask? Surely loopholes are bad and should be closed. The simple truth is that there is no gun show loophole. Period. The laws of buying and selling guns at a gun show are exactly the same as buying and selling guns anywhere else in the country.

So what’s the fuss about? Private sales of guns. They want to track them and charge you more money for them. Even the inheritance of your fathers guns, or selling one of your personal guns to a brother, cousin or friend. You can't confiscate guns if you don't register them first. You can't enforce registration if you don't track all purchases. It’s a long-term game and giving in to hostiles is never a solution. No matter if the thug is the man on the street or the man in office, giving in will only encourage them to take more.

While the panel members from federal field offices did at least offer some sensible comments and seemed to be the only ones able to accurately answer questions from the audience, they hardly provided the “different view” the program led one to believe they would.

In the end, this was a boring and uninspiring panel. It is a retread of the same people with the same tired ideas of demonizing guns and those who own them to justify taxing, tracking and eventually taking your guns. They offered no solutions to the real problems plaguing our streets, but if they tricked the uninformed into thinking it is the gun that causes the criminal actions of the thug on the street, then they were successful in their mission.

This topic was also covered on the “Firearms Forum” radio show December 7. If you missed it, podcasts of past shows are available here.

Afterthought - It has been brought to my attention that at least one member of the panel is not anti-gun. There have been several mayors who had joined Mayor Bloomberg's coalition against illegal guns, who later realized that rather than fighting crime, Bloomberg's true agenda was more focused on law-abiding gun owners and have removed themselves from his group. While Mayor's Menino, Jackson, and most of the panel are clearly against our individual right to keep and bear arms, I should not have stated that every member of the panel has this same bias.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

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