I was hoping to make the former Deputy Mayor’s news conference last week on illegal firearms, unfortunately my other obligations kept me away. Luckily, I managed to get a hold of most what she said; the nice thing about also working in television. And for starters, let me give Democratic mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy credit for wanting to crack down on illegal guns. It’s a much better position to advocate than offering amnesty to gang members like she did when running for prosecutor back in 2006.
However, there were a couple parts of her plan that had me confused. I’m all for stricter penalties for those who use weapons in the commission of crime, but Melina also wanted the current Mayor to sign a pledge proposed by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns to show his opposition to illegal guns. I guess the 2,000 or so illegal guns taken off the streets last year wasn’t enough to demonstrate that point. But if the pledge is good enough for four other Indiana mayors to sign out of 460, I guess it’s good enough for Indianapolis.
Melina also wanted to target what she says is a “loophole” in the law that in some instances a criminal can go to an existing gun show and buy a gun with no questions asked and no background check. That’s not the entire story. Anyone can buy a gun at a gun show without a background check if they are buying the gun from another person and not a dealer. They can also do it at 86th and Meridian, 62nd and College, 115 W. Washington, 148 E. Market Street or 912 N. Delaware. The gun show is not the issue, in fact according to FBI statistics, less than 1% of guns used in crimes are purchased at gun shows.
Ask any experienced law enforcement officer and he or she will tell you that the gun used in a crime was likely stolen or traded for drugs. No criminal in his right mind is going to walk into a place, full of undercover law enforcement by the way, and buy a gun that can be traced back to him. The real world doesn’t operate that way. And if you look at latest shootings in Indianapolis, I don’t think the Indy 1500 Gun and Knife Show was responsible for weapons ending up in the hands of criminals.
Like I said early, I have to give Melina credit for wanting illegal guns off the streets. We all do. Of course if you go after gangs and illegal drugs the venn diagram will also show you getting most illegal guns, too. However, if she and her campaign really wanted to do some good, they would take some of the money they’ve done a good job raising, head over to the east side of town, and start doing some illegal gun purchases and turning the weapons into law enforcement. Instead of hanging around 1202 E. 38th Street drive down to 9000 E. 38th Street. That will go much further in immediately getting illegally possessed guns off the streets than targeting a gun show.