* WBEZ has an excellent story about how Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s demand that state legislators increase mandatory minimum sentences is not based on actual research. Emanuel, his police chief and others have pointed to New York City’s great success with reducing crime and claim that harsher mandatory minimums are a big reason for that success…
The situation in New York — that’s one of the main “arguments” Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have repeatedly made over the past few months as they’ve pushed their agenda on gun legislation..
“And just look at New York,” said McCarthy at a press conference this week. “It couldn’t be a clearer example of how to do this. The fact is, where these conditions exist, it’s working. I mean, what research do we need?”
But that’s not what the data shows…
[Frank Zimring is] a professor of law at the University of California Berkeley and author of the book “The City That Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for Urban Crime and its Control.”
“The mandatory minimum punishments, is, if you study the New York experience, beside the point,” said Zimring.
Zimring studied 19 years of data tracking crime in New York. He says in 1990 the city had 2,250 murders. In 2012, it had 419. That’s an astonishing 80 percent drop in murder.
It’s that success that’s being used to justify the mandatory minimum sentences being proposed by Emanuel and McCarthy, but mandatory minimums weren’t signed into law in New York until late 2006.
“That’s after 90 percent of the crime reduction!” said Zimring. “I think that what’s going on is that the superintendent and the mayor in Chicago are under a ‘do something fast political pressure,’ and in my experience, at least, that’s never been good for penal codes.”
Go read the whole thing.
* Meanwhile, Rep. Brandon Phelps is not optimistic at all about the future of concealed carry negotiations…
On Thursday, Phelps said he thinks both sides are as divided as they were at the beginning of the spring session, despite ongoing negotiations over several components of his bill, such as defining where guns couldn’t be carried and whether home-rule units could have local control.
“I don’t know if there’s going to be a compromise, to be honest,” Phelps said. “I just think we’re too far apart.”
* ISRA’s Richard Pearson talked about yesterday’s gun control rally…
Pearson said a mandate to make people report lost or stolen guns “actually makes the victim the defendant” and “actually helps the criminal element.”
Pearson said everything gun control advocates want to do “puts a burden on the law-abiding gun owner and doesn’t do anything to punish the criminal.”
The gun control advocates’ real goal is “to nullify the Second Amendment, to stigmatize gun owners and to culturally isolate them so lawful firearm owners look like some kind of weird fringe group, when that’s not true. Actually, they (the gun control advocates) are the weird fringe group,” Pearson said.
I don’t quite see how reporting lost or stolen guns helps criminals. But I do believe that he’s at least partly right on some things. Focusing on generally law-abiding people when crafting gun control measures is often counter-productive. You end up with people prosecuted for harmless stuff. Focus on the violent criminals. Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to up their sentences may not be based on science, but at least it puts the focus where it belongs.
However, if yesterday’s polling is anywhere near accurate, then the gun control groups are solidly within the mainstream. They aren’t fringe by any means.
* Here’s something that could be useful…
While gun regulation supporters rallied outside, House lawmakers inside the Statehouse voted in favor of a measure that would create a mental health first aid program in which certified trainers could teach members of the public how to recognize and help someone who could be dealing with a mental health disorder or addiction.
Backed by lawmakers who referenced the mental health condition of the shooter in Newtown, the bill passed 105-8. It now moves to the Senate.
Sponsoring Rep. Esther Golar, D-Chicago, told lawmakers to spread the word of this proposal through “town hall meetings and in your newsletters” because people need information about mental health issues in society.
* VIDEO: Gov. Pat Quinn at gun control rally
* State police say they need more funding for concealed carry
* Heat continues on gun issues
* Sheila Simon: Let’s find common ground on guns
* Will County Board to take up concealed carry in May
* Illinois US Representatives and Gun Control
* Robin Kelly is sworn in: ‘Today is about a new beginning for the people of 2nd Congressional District’