Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois on Wednesday slammed National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre for claiming background checks wouldn’t reduce gun violence.
During a the Senate Judiciary Committee’s gun control hearing, LaPierre argued that closing the so-called gun show loophole would only harm innocent gun buyers. He claimed criminals would be unaffected by the proposed policy because they would buy guns illegally.
“The criminals won’t go to purchase the guns, because there will be a background check,” Durbin interjected. “We’ll stop them from the original purchase. You missed that point completely. I think it is basic.”
Durbin noted that Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl, was tragically gunned down on the South Side of Chicago on Tuesday. He pushed back against the notion that Chicago’s tough gun laws and high homicide rate were evidence that gun control was not effective.
Durbin said the city of Chicago was “awash” in guns, where illegal firearms were confiscated at six times the rate of New York City. He noted that guns were flowing into Chicago from outside the city. More than half the guns used in crimes have been traced to outside the state, particularly to Indiana and Mississippi.
“Why? Because the background checks there, the gun dealers there are a lot easier than they are in other places. They end up selling these guns in volume, and they come up the interstate and kill wantonly on the way,” Durbin said, adding the issue of straw purchasers needed to be addressed. “I can point to one gun store — one gun store in Riverdale, Illinois — that accounts for more than 20 percent of the crime guns in Chicago. Straw purchasers buy the guns there and they end up in the hands of criminals in Chicago.”
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[Image via Center for American Progress, Creative Commons licensed]