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.
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.