Chicago Barely Avoids Long Island Rail Road Massacre; "Law-abiding Citizen" Arrested
The call came in just before noon yesterday. A man with an assault rifle was firing at a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Blue Line train from a platform at LaSalle Street and Congress Parkway in Chicago's busy downtown where thousands commute every day. The suspect was carrying 60 rounds of ammunition.
What Background Check? by Martha Rosenberg
It was sheer and disconcerting luck that yesterday did not become Chicago's Long Island Rail Road Massacre in which gunman Colin Ferguson killed 6 six train passengers and wounded 19 in December 1993.
Police arrested Lorenzo Jones, 25, who they say had an extensive arrest record but also a valid Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOID) making him "eligible to possess and acquire firearms and firearm ammunition" according to Illinois State Police. What? Was Jones issued a FOID despite his arrest record? Or did authorities fail to revoke his FOID as his arrests began to pile up? Either way, the suspect is a "law-abiding citizen" in the eyes of the law whose "gun rights" are viciously defended by the gun lobby. Thank you, NRA.
And, the near-massacre owes another debt of gratitude to the gun lobby. Sixty percent of guns recovered in crimes in Chicago were originally sold in other states with weaker laws like Indiana, including the assault weapon Jones was carrying, say police. Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi "all permit gun owners to sell their guns to other people without any background checks of the new buyer or paperwork recording the sale," says a chilling 2014 Chicago Police Department report.
Chicago does not have a violence problem it has a "gun" problem Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy told the press after yesterday's Blue Line shooting, noting that a weapon used in the shooting of two Chicago police officers earlier in the week also came from Indiana. Thank you, Indiana gun lobby.
Janey Rountree of the Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees. Speaking this week at the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Summit at U.S. Cellular Field hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Rountree observed that Chicago's "non-gun murder" rate is similar to other big cities like New York or Los Angeles, while its gun-murder rate is sky high thanks to illegal gun trafficking from gun-friendly states like Indiana. "Our murder rate would drop to a tenth," said Rountree, without the infusion of trafficked guns.
The nearly missed massacre on Chicago's Blue Line, on which I personally commute, reveals how the gun lobby and the lawmakers who serve it create lethal situations for peaceful citizens. Someone with a long arrest record is "law-abiding" in the eyes of the state? He is able to access public transportation with an assault weapon and 60 rounds? His weapon comes from Indiana making a mockery Chicago/Illinois laws?
The gun lobby's lethal agenda puts every citizen at risk and there is no reason yesterday's CTA shooting will not happen again.
Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the "sidelines" and take a stand against gun violence including the "can't miss sniper rifle" sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.