Kennedy Talks Common Sense in Newsweek Op-Ed

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Sen. John Kennedy may share a last name with the Democratic dynasty, but that seems to be about where any similarities come to an end.

The Louisiana Republican has carved a reputation as being a tough customer during Senate hearings, among other things, and a staunch defender of the right to keep and bear arms.


In some segments of the population, that’s a horrific crime.

But, like with most who oppose gun control, it’s not because we somehow favor criminals. We just think there are better approaches.

Kennedy recently took to the op-ed pages of Newsweek to offer up some thoughts.

The idea that governors are to blame for gun violence is misleading because gun crimes—and most other crimes—are largely the responsibility of local officials. It’s up to each city to hire and train police officers and elect or appoint prosecutors who can enforce the laws—whatever the laws may be in that area.

Left-wing leadership in major cities often distorts statewide homicide levels significantly. Illinois, for example, had the 10th highest per capita homicide rate from 2014 to 2020. If you removed the homicides that occurred in the Chicago area of Cook County, however, Illinois would rank 33rd.

This is a very important point that doesn’t get enough attention, in my opinion. Illinois state gun laws are based around the failings in one particular portion of the state. When those gun laws don’t work, they pass more, all while the issue remains a local one.

And what does Kennedy think places like Chicago and other high-crime communities should do?

Something you typically hear derided from the same voices who demand more gun control.


Law enforcement.

America does not have a shortage of gun laws; we have a shortage of enforcement. Thanks to radical defund-the-police policies and anti-police rhetoric, police departments throughout the country are struggling to recruit the officers they need to discourage people from breaking the law and arrest the dangerous criminals who are plaguing their neighborhoods with violence.

The New Orleans Police Department is nearly 300 officers short of recommended staffing levels. Washington D.C. lost 450 officers over the past three years, leaving the department at a 50-year low. Chicago had 1,500 fewer officers in 2022 than it did in 2019.

Unless you peaked in high school, you understand that more cops will result in less crime. One study on policing found that each officer added to the police force resulted in four fewer violent crimes and 15 fewer property crimes. Another study found that a 10 percent increase in the police force resulted in a 13 percent drop in violent crime.

Look, I’m not a fan of the government getting involved in stuff they have no business being involved in, but law enforcement is a legitimate function of the government, and so many local leaders are shirking the job.

They demonized police until many left the profession entirely, wanting nothing at all to do with so-called leadership that would throw them under the bus the moment it became politically expedient. Yet putting more police on the street, as Kennedy notes above, would have a positive impact on the violent crime rate.


What’s more, it’s clear that each officer has an outsized impact on crime in their communities.

But there’s more going on here.

While these officials screw the pooch and then call for more gun control, local prosecutors are routinely letting those who violate existing gun laws walk on those charges. There’s absolutely no attempt to enforce existing laws in far too many cases, all while looking for new ways to regulation what you and I–law-abiding citizens–can lawfully have.

And then they get their congressional allies sell it to the American people like AR-15s are the preferred firearm of the average violent criminal. They push for new regulations in hopes that people won’t look at their own failings.

Kennedy nails it on this op-ed and we need to stop letting these failing officials off the hook.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member