* The House Judiciary Committee debated an assault weapons ban yesterday with predictable results…
A two-hour House Judiciary Committee hearing on guns – its third in a week – produced virtually no common ground between the two sides in the decades-old debate over whether there is any reason for civilians to own semi-automatic guns capable of hosting high-capacity magazines.
“These weapons are designed for war, and these weapons are making their way underground to gangbangers and urban terrorists,” said Rep. Edward Acevedo, a Chicago Democrat sponsoring anti-assault-gun legislation. “Every one of us knows this isn’t going to happen any time soon. Don’t let the dysfunction in D.C. stop us from doing everything we can.”
The hearing produced familiar images, including Chicago Police Department photos of targeted guns. An NRA lobbyist argued “assault weapon” was a fear-mongering buzzword, created in the 1980s. And an FBI agent raised concerns the government would confiscate the assault weapon he uses to hunt deer should a statewide or national ban be approved, although key proposals both nationally and in Illinois would not round up existing weapons.
Republicans from suburban Chicago and suburban St. Louis blamed violence not on the guns, but on cuts in policing and laws too weak to scare law-breakers into compliance.
Homicides jumped 16 percent in Chicago in 2012, and the violence continued in January. Last year, police confiscated nearly 7,500 guns in Chicago, testified Alfonza Wysinger, the first deputy superintendent. Of those, he said, 277 were assault weapons. He drove home his concerns with more numbers: 45 assault weapons were among the 1,100 guns confiscated this year; since the federal ban was lifted in 2004, the city has seized 2,678 assault weapons. […]
Wysinger told lawmakers that an assault weapons ban “cannot come soon enough,” but he acknowledged that only a fraction of Chicago’s homicides are tied to the military-style, high-powered guns. For example, the 2011 Chicago Murder Analysis prepared by the Police Department reported that 361 of the city’s 433 homicide victims that year were shot, and “nearly all of those shootings involved handguns.”
Gun rights lawmakers countered that no prohibition is needed.
“We’re trying to pass a bill to make us feel good, and it isn’t going to do a thing,” said Republican Rep. Jim Sacia, a former FBI agent from Pecatonica. “I deer hunt with an assault weapon,” Sacia added.
Instead, the focus should be on upgrading mental health services in the state, said Greg Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association.
Seventy-three of the state’s 102 county sheriffs agreed in February to oppose the proposed assault weapons ban, Sullivan said.
“Focusing on the inanimate factor versus the human factor in all these shootings and all these attacks doesn’t focus on the mental health issues we’re facing here in Illinois,” Sullivan said.
Rep. Jim Sacia has become an Internet celebrity.
During Tuesday’s long House debate on concealed-carry legislation, the Republican from far northwestern Illinois made an analogy that tied together guns and castration in one fell swoop.
Now, a YouTube video of his floor speech has drawn more than 14,000 views, and one top black lawmaker condemned Sacia’s remarks as the “most offensive statement” he’d heard. […]
“Here’s an analogy folks. I ask you to think of this,” Sacia continued as he bellowed over the noisy House chamber. “You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids. It spells out exactly what is happening here. You want us to get rid of guns.”
A leading black lawmaker Thursday, state Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), condemned Sacia’s remarks as “one of the most offensive statements I’ve heard.”
“That epitomizes the view of … the Republicans or some Downstate Democrats, their view of African Americans, minorities or people from the city of Chicago, that all we do is lay around and make babies,” said Davis, joint chairman of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.
Many of the comments on the YouTube video are just awful and unprintable. Here are some comments, with redactions where necessary…
* cfrait1968: Good for Jim! I’ve always said that it’s time for the rest of Illinois to secede from Chicago and declare it’s independence as the new free state of South Illinois. Chicago contributes nothing and only takes from the rest of us. I am tired of seeing my hard-earned tax dollars stolen to support black racists, homosexual perverts, crooks, communist/socialist tyrants, and the welfare bums that make up the population of the godless Sodom on the lake called Chicago. Take our freedom back!
* 88mrgoldsmith: *** off chicago and ur people… Ur a *** disgrace to mankind.
* cfrait1968: Yes, it is. It is an evil abomination and I look forward to the day it is wiped out by the wrath of God. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
* KBay84: They DON’T want to rehab OR work! They want a system that provides for them. We need to neuter/fix welfare moms & dads & gang bangers.
* Eric Terman: More evidence that angry paranoid gun nuts are insecure about their [male appendages].
* Zach C: Ah *** off buddy. The only ones with the [male appendage] problems are all the black males in Chicago leaving a trail of fatherless kids.
Sometimes, I really despise the Internet.