The number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate is absolutely wrong about the cause of the crime spike that began last June, but that’s not stopping Dick Durbin (and plenty of other Democrats) from trying to pin the blame on current crime wave on the Second Amendment and the millions of Americans who’ve lawfully purchased and responsibly used their firearms in recent months. They have to blame something, and it’s not like the Illinois senator is going to point his finger at, say, Democratic mayors like Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot for her feckless bungling of a surge in shootings, carjackings, and homicides.
Instead, he’ll point his finger (and you can guess which one he’s using) at gun owners and the firearms industry.
In addressing the recent surge in violent crime, Durbin said, “We have more guns in this nation than anyone who wrote the Second Amendment could ever have envisioned.”
“We have over 400 million guns in a nation of 330 million people,” Durbin said. “And how easy are they to get? Just in the last week or two, we have seen hundreds of guns being confiscated by the Chicago police and community after community that have just too damn many guns out there.”
FBI data shows Illinois leads the nation in the number of firearm background checks so far in 2021. Those numbers are a key indicator of tracking gun sales. If Illinois’ violence problem is due to too many guns, then why are people in Illinois buying them in higher volume than any other state in the country?
“I can’t explain it. A lot of personal reasons,” Durbin answered.
I can explain the FBI data, and the fact that Durbin can’t tells me that he’s far more concerned about the politics of gun control than actual policy. The reason why Illinois has so many more NICS checks than other states isn’t because of gun sales, but because the Illinois State Police uses the NICS system to regularly check the status of all those who possess a concealed carry license.
Durbin should know this, but he’s either oblivious to that fact or he doesn’t see any benefit in educating reporters and the public, since the truth is counterproductive to advancing his narrative.
“There are lots of different reasons. I’m not going to be able to analyze it,” he said. “But when it gets down to it, we’re crazy if we don’t do background checks on the people who buy guns. Anybody was a convicted felon or mentally unstable should not be able to buy a gun. And yet when it comes to gun shows, orders over the internet, these ghost guns, we’re not enforcing that. That is just unacceptable. That ought to be the starting point of our conversation.”
More lies. Every commercial firearms sale goes through a background check, no matter if it takes place at a gun show, a retail establishment, or through a company’s website. If Durbin is talking about trying to police private gun transfers, I’d love to hear his idea on how to do it proactively, since there’s no way for law enforcement to know about those transactions beforehand. You can require universal background checks, but at best that law allows for a criminal charge to be filed after the fact.
Durbin’s comments raise some obvious questions, and I’m disappointed that the reporter quizzing the senator didn’t ask them. If there are “too many damn guns out there,” then what’s the right number of guns for a nation of 300-million people? Perhaps more importantly, what does Dick Durbin propose to do about all those “extra” guns out there?
As I’ve said before, we do live in a country with more than 100-million gun owners, 400-million privately-owned firearms, and (most importantly) the right to keep and bear them, which makes the idea of reducing crime by reducing the number of guns both unfeasible and unconstitutional. There are plenty of strategies to reduce violent crime that are effective and don’t involve putting new restrictions on legal gun owners, but don’t expect Durbin and his fellow Democrats to truly get behind them. After all, Durbin’s made it clear who he blames for the current crime spike, and it’s not the people actually pulling the trigger.