Chicago Editorial Board: ‘Worrifying’ that Law-Abiding Gun Owners Are Defending Themselves By:

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(Photo: Chicago Tribune)

By Matt Manda

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Last weekend, Chicagoans witnessed a weekend that saw at least 71 people shot. Tragically, nine of the victims died from their injuries. Just two weeks ago, Chicagoans survived a weekend that saw at least 44 people shot. Tragically, at least eight of the victims died from their injuries.

In a city where criminals know they can get away with violence and criminal shootings – even when police are involved – it’s not surprising that law-abiding Chicagoans would consider arming themselves and, God-forbid, having to use their firearm for self-defense or to protect their families.

That’s just too much for The Chicago Tribune editorial board. The media masters there went out and did the most editorial board thing possible and decried such a trend.

“Worryingly, we’re seeing more signs of that phenomenon in Chicago, with three separate episodes over the last weekend in which would-be victims proved to be both armed and willing to fire at their assailants,” the board chose to write.

It must be nice to live in such an Ivory Tower.

Table of contents

  • Is Anyone There?
  • Surely Not!
  • NSSF Standing for Illinoisans
  • Danger Ahead

So far in 2024, the crime situation in Chicago is so bad residents are relying on themselves for safety. In fact, according to NSSF-adjusted NICS data, nearly 200,000 Illinoisans have purchased a firearm during the first five months of the year alone, including in Chicago. They have no other choice.

Police and law enforcement have been hamstrung by “defund the police” politicians who cut budgets in recent years, including 400 police officer positions that were eliminated in 2020. Even if any would-be victims in the Windy City called 911 for help, there’s a better than even chance their call won’t be answered. More than 50 percent of high-priority calls to emergency dispatchers go unanswered, according to recent reports.

So as crime remains a serious concern for Chicago residents, they’ve turned to legally purchasing a firearm. As a competitive shooter and past History Channel “Top Shot” champion, Chris Cheng told U.S. Senators during a 2021 congressional hearing, “If I can’t have law enforcement there, then it is a rational conclusion that individual citizens like myself would opt to utilize my Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm and use that firearm in lawful and legal self-defense.”

Cue the Chicago Tribune’s disapproval of that notion.

The Tribune’s enlightened ones decried that Chicagoans have had it with the criminals running the city and are now standing their ground. They referenced four criminals who police said were attacking the lawful gun owners and were shot and wounded, all of them critically, according to a report. One would-be victim shot three criminals who were attacking him and another shot a man who was breaking into his home.

“We’re seeing more of these cases… But the majority of Chicagoans, we’re convinced, don’t feel any safer when they read stories of good-guy-with-a-gun responses to street crime… Overall, it’s not a healthy environment in a city — where by definition people live close together — when gun-packing citizens become more the norm than the exception.”

They even recognized that the “defund the police” effort has decimated the city. “Surely, it doesn’t help the narrative, either, when the Chicago Police Department has more than 1,000 openings for officers that it’s struggling to fill,” the newspaper’s editorial board wrote. “Surely, our public officials…can agree that the growing risks of more ordinary citizens taking responsibility for their own safety at the point of a gun isn’t a healthy development.”

Once again, if law enforcement can’t be the ones to provide basic public safety to keep Chicagoans safe, what do they expect city residents to do?

Regarding the editors’ question about “agreeing” that ordinary citizens possessing and using firearms “isn’t a healthy development,” NSSF disagrees. It is a natural right to defend oneself against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. Using a firearm in a bona fide self-defense situation is lawful.

If criminals are going to continue illegally obtaining and using guns to commit acts of violence against law-abiding citizens and law enforcement has been reduced to the point of being unable to adequately provide for the safety of communities, then more law-abiding citizens possessing firearms and getting trained to responsibly use them in self-defense is good.

That’s why NSSF petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in Barnett v. Raoul to consider the Constitutionality of Illinois’ ban on commonly-owned firearms and standard-capacity magazines.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Protect Illinois Communities Act in January 2023, and it is among the nation’s most expansive gun control laws. It bans the sale and possession of over 1,000 models of rifles, including commonly owned MSRs – of which there are more than 28.1 million in circulation since 1990 – and certain semiautomatic handguns and shotguns as well as rifle magazines with a capacity greater than 10 cartridges and pistol magazines with a capacity greater than 15 cartridges. NSSF challenged the law within days of the governor signing the bill into law.

NSSF argues that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit previously erred in upholding the state’s ban, which blatantly violates the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision chastised states that would reduce Second Amendment rights to a state-government privilege granted by bureaucrats and the Bruen decision’s “history and tradition” test rejected state attempts to inject “interest-balancing” tests. Previously, states and courts would justify gun control laws by placing a thumb on the scale to rationalize infringing on rights protected from infringement by the government.

One thing law-abiding citizens of Chicago will be closely watching is what happens in their city as the Democratic National Convention draws near. Security officials and convention planners are already voicing concerns about safety issues, even proposing moving some events online as “virtual.” Prognosticators seem to have a good idea of what lies ahead, especially when looking back at the violence surrounding the Chicago convention of 1968, with POLITICO writing, “The DNC is preparing for the worst in Chicago.”

There’s plenty to worry about in The Windy City including how officials are handling community safety and crime. Newspaper editors enjoying the comforts of their Ivory Tower should focus on efforts to hold the bad guys accountable for crimes and keep them from returning to the streets, not what steps law-abiding Chicagoans are taking to lawfully protect themselves.

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