Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle has been on a mission to punish legal gunowners of late. Preckwinkle, a mentor to President Obama, made headlines earlier this year when she said that “Reagan deserves a special place in hell.”
After decreeing in a Wednesday press conference that a “gun court” would be established by July 1 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, she was rebuked today by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans. Evans, who was shocked by Preckwinkle’s announcement, then released a statement implying that she lacks the authority to do so :
Before I can consider such a request, it will be necessary for me to obtain input from the judges and the other criminal justice system stakeholders. The creation of any specialized court is, by definition, a collaborative effort which requires assurances that all individuals coming before such a court are afforded due process. The proposal to create a specialty court also demands extensive research so that an informed decision can be made.
In light of the proposal by county officials, I have directed my staff to begin studying the gun court approach. I also will reach out to our judges and the offices of the Cook County state’s attorney and public defender so that, together, we can determine whether a gun court is in the best interest of the public and the court system.
Preckwinkle has seized upon demonizing guns as her route simultaneously to solve Chicago’s war-zone like violence while bringing in revenue. Until recently, Preckwinkle had planned to institute a $.05/bullet tax, which remains on the table for future consideration. After being informed that would in most cases exceed the price of the ammunition itself, she came up with the idea of the gun court. Preckwinkle also plans to institute a $25.00 transfer tax on each gun purchased in Chicago, which effectively will result in no one purchasing a gun in Chicago.
Preckwinkle promises this will reduce crime as these funds will go to nonprofits to help reduce violence. (Watch this footage at 3:24 to see inner-city black Chicagoans seething at the nonprofits already taking money from their communities they claim to help.) Richard Pearson, the head of the IL State Rifle Association, was quoted in Human Events about Preckwinkle’s plan:
I’ve seen a lot of harebrained gun control schemes over the years, but this one takes the cake. Does Board President Preckwinkle really expect the state’s gun owners to pay a tax to fund organizations whose primary mission is to take their guns away?
Even the non-gun owning taxpayer should be outraged at Preckwinkle’s latest boondoggle…Over the years, local gun control organizations have flitted away tens of millions of foundation dollars in the name of violence prevention while, at the same time, Cook County’s rate of violent crime has hit the stratosphere.
Chicago residents only recently were afforded their second-amendment protections, long held in disregard by Mayor Daley, but recognized as a fundamental right in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision. Preckwinkle effectively is making this right to self-defense one only feasibly exercised by rich, white suburban Cook County residents.
Currently, in order to obtain a gun in the city of Chicago, you have to obtain a FOID card for a fee, travel an hour (minimum) and then pay for a class and range time (there are no ranges in Chicago), pay for a firearms permit, pay for registration, and be fingerprinted. That’s just the beginning. I have been going through the process and I would estimate I have already paid around $450 for class costs, permit costs, and travel costs, not including time lost traveling 1.5 hours back and forth to the gun range. This is pre-Preckwinkle taxes.
Chicago residents seeking to defend themselves against violent crime ought to be warned that it is a privilege only for those who have the means and time to comply with the ever-burdensome laws. Preckwinkle’s plans to provide funds to nonprofits and cripple the ability for Chicagoans, and especially for those in the most dangerous neighborhoods, to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense are another example of the backwards Chicago logic.
Perhaps that’s why those at the collar-county gun ranges laugh when you tell them you’re from Chicago.